Adult survivors of sexual abuse - getting help and seeking justice
Sexual abuse is a terrible crime that affects people for a long time. You may have been abused many years ago, but could still be suffering the consequences.
Where to get help
Even if you are now an adult, help is still available and action can still be taken. The person who did the abuse may still be a risk to others in the community.
Reporting abuse can be really challenging, it is difficult to talk about the experience and you may be uncomfortable reporting the matter directly to police.
Many options are available to support you through this process, to help you seek justice and to protect those who still may be at risk. You can:
- contact your local NSW Health Sexual Assault Service to receive free and confidential counselling, and help in deciding about reporting the sexual abuse to police (available to males and females)
- the Blue Knot Foundation supports adults who have experienced childhood trauma, including abuse and their family, friends and loved ones. They offer professional counselling, information, referrals and also run workshops across Australia for adult survivors of childhood trauma
- call Victims Services on 1800 633 063 to discuss what happened to you, your needs and how you can get counselling
- get free legal advice from your local Community Legal Centre
- call your local Aboriginal Medical Service if you’re Aboriginal and want to speak to an Aboriginal person to be connected to help
- call the Police Assistance Line on 13 14 44 if you feel ready and able to report the matter directly to police. Please note that you may be required to make a formal statement at a police station. If you feel uncomfortable about doing this alone, you can request help from one of the above services beforehand
- call the Child Protection Helpline on 13 21 11 if you believe the person responsible for the past abuse is still posing a risk to children. The helpline provides help for cases where children and young people are currently subject to risk of abuse or neglect.
If you’re uncomfortable dealing with government agencies, you can also contact one of these non-government organisations to get help and support:
The Womens Cottage
Community based support and resource centre, run by women, for women and children
02 4578 4190
Mandatory reporters using the online Mandatory reporter guide should note that decision trees now include the category ‘Existence of other concerns – class of child/young people’. Please mark ‘yes’ if you believe that a group of children or young people are at risk from the person responsible for the past abuse (e.g. the person is now working with children). You can then type in details of the past abuse and how the person is currently a risk to a class of children and young people.