Permanent support program for men, women and children
WHEN they ran a sexual assault pilot program in the Central Highlands last year, they reached capacity within a month.
An obvious need for support within the community, Rockhampton’s Women’s Health Centre launched a permanent program in the region in September.
Emerald Sexual Assault Service manager Belinda Lindel said she was pleased to be able to fill the gap and support men, women and children from 12 years old.
“Once we did the pilot program, it was realised that it was such a needed service out here in the Central Highlands,” she said.
“There were no sexual assault services out here, and clearly it’s something they (the community) want.”
The service offers free counselling and support for anyone who has been sexually assaulted or abused, historic or recent, as well as support for those who are supporting victims.
“We are here for people to work through what happened in the past, take the self-blame away from them,” Ms Lindel said.
“And provide support for people who support victims, because sometimes the victims aren’t ready to receive counselling.”
Ms Lindel said the service was completely free and confidential and allowed community members to access it in person or over the phone.
“We don’t force reporting, we are there to support someone if they want it,” she said.
“We move at the client’s pace. It’s very much a support network to explore the issues and feelings and it’s completely confidential.”
Women’s Health Centre received a grant during sexual violence awareness month, which has been used to raise awareness around the theme of consent.
Ms Lindel is encouraging pubs, clubs and other venues or organisations to hang the posters on toilet doors to encourage people to reach out if they know anyone who is being or has been abused or sexually assaulted.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what you’re doing, there’s no excuse for rape,” she said.
Emerald Sexual Assault Service is located at Emerald Neighbourhood Centre and is also at the Gemfields every Tuesday morning.
For more information or to get in touch, contact Ms Lindel by calling 07 4922 6585.