Ballarat’s Centre Against Sexual Abuse has received a funding boost of more than $200,000 to support the surge of sexual abuse victims coming forward.
CASA has been inundated by an almost 30 per cent increase in the already high numbers of sexual abuse victims seeking assistance in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse hearings.
The state government announced on Friday a grant of $110,000 would be given to Ballarat CASA to match funds remaining from the crowd funding efforts that sent survivors to Rome to witness Cardinal George Pell’s testimony to the sex abuse inquiry in person weeks ago. CASA manger Shireen Gunn said the hearings had seen record numbers of victims seek help.
She said the funds would be used for an on the ground counsellor and to establish a brokerage fund that could be used to help survivors in need of emergency support for housing difficulties and health issues. Survivor Andrew Collins said the funding would save lives.
"There are so many more people who are coming out with their abuse now and they need urgent help," he said. "The money will go to ensuring they get the help they need on the ground now. We can't ask for a better use of that money, it will make an immediate difference to the lives of sexual abuse victims."
Mr Collins said survivors were working alongside CASA staff to determine the most effective use of the funds including counselling and mental health support.
He said they were extremely grateful for the support from the community and the celebrity star power of media identities Gorgi Coghlan and Meshel Laurie who helped pushed their plight into the spotlight through after survivors started a national crowd-funding campaign.
Wendouree MP Sharon Knight said CASA had been invaluable support to victims left traumatised by sexual abuse. “Too many people across Ballarat have been impacted by the scourge of institutional abuse and it’s vital that we support the community during this difficult time,” she said.
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