Sexual Assault:
Protecting our young people
Hetty Johnston AM
Founder and CEO
Bravehearts Inc
EDUCATE
♥ Early childhood (aged 3-8) ‘Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure’ primary and pre-school based
personal s...
Facts about Child Sexual Assault
Kissing, fondling, penetration, child
prostitution, oral sex
Talking in a sexually explic...
Barriers to Disclosing
Guilt • Feel that what happened is their fault.
• Feel guilty about what happened.
• Feel ashamed o...
The Process of Disclosing
Pre-disclosure
• Recognition of the behaviour as wrong
• Confusing and ambivalent feelings about...
Physical Emotional/
Psychological
Behavioural Social
Vaginal, penile or
anal soreness,
discharge or
bleeding.
Sexual knowl...
♥ Paying particular interest to a child or young person; often has
a ‘special’ child/young person friend.
♥ Isolates a chi...
Effects of Child Sexual Assault
Increased likelihood of:
♥ Requiring mental health services
♥ Meeting a mental health diagnosis in adulthood
♥ Re-victimis...
 We believe in the importance of taking an holistic
approach to addressing this crime in our
communities.
 To truly brea...
All children receive effective personal
safety education
Personal Safety is imbedded in the curriculum and
is reinforced ...
All adults are trained, aware and motivated and with
adequate support services available
 Training
 Awareness
 Risk Man...
All systems of community and government engage
effectively
 Research and Legislative reform
 Policy, procedure, practice...
Hetty Johnston AM
Founder and CEO
pa@bravehearts.org.au
Bravehearts Inc
PO Box 575
Arundel, Qld 4214
1800 272 831
www.brav...
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Hetty Johnston - Bravehearts - Sexual assault

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Hetty Johnston delivered the presentation at the 2014 Young People at Risk Forum.

The 2014 Young People at Risk Forum reviewed the challenges and solutions surrounding intervention programs around topics such as suicide prevention, substance abuse, mental health, education, employment and housing. Additionally, the forum focused on culturally competent care and care within Aboriginal communities.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://www.informa.com.au/yprisk14

Published in: Education, Health & Medicine
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Hetty Johnston - Bravehearts - Sexual assault

  1. 1. Sexual Assault: Protecting our young people Hetty Johnston AM Founder and CEO
  2. 2. Bravehearts Inc EDUCATE ♥ Early childhood (aged 3-8) ‘Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure’ primary and pre-school based personal safety programs including cyber-safety. ♥ Personal Safety Programs for older children & young people and specific programs aimed at Indigenous children. EMPOWER ♥ Community awareness raising campaigns (online and offline) including general media comment and specific campaigns such as our annual national White Balloon Day. ♥ Tiered child sexual assault awareness, support and response training and risk management policy and procedure training and services for all sectors in the community. PROTECT ♥ Specialist advocacy support services for survivors and victims of child sexual assault and their families including a specialist supported child sexual assault 1800 crisis line. ♥ Specialist child sexual assault counselling is available to all children, adults and their non-offending family support. ♥ Policy and legislative reform (online and offline) – collaboration with State government departments and agencies.
  3. 3. Facts about Child Sexual Assault Kissing, fondling, penetration, child prostitution, oral sex Talking in a sexually explicit manner, making obscene phone calls or remarks to a child Persistently intruding, showing pornographic films, magazines or photographs to a child, forcing a child to watch a sexual act and having a child pose in a sexual manner Child sexual assault includes:
  4. 4. Barriers to Disclosing Guilt • Feel that what happened is their fault. • Feel guilty about what happened. • Feel ashamed of their body’s natural reaction to sexual activity. Fear of Consequences • Fear being blamed, punished or not believed. • Cultural and family values can act as barriers to disclosing. • Fear being separated from their homes and their families. • Fear a disclosure will cause harm to someone or something they love. Interpersonal Effects • The offender may be someone the child or young person relies heavily on. • Feel that disclosing may cause family problems or breakdowns. Stigmatism • Being a male survivor of child sexual assault is in itself a barrier to disclosing due to the increased risk of stigmatisation for admitting being a victim. • Relationship dynamics, expectations and attitudes about what is normal for young men and women in relationships.
  5. 5. The Process of Disclosing Pre-disclosure • Recognition of the behaviour as wrong • Confusing and ambivalent feelings about the offender or the assault/s • Confusion about consent and what constitutes consent • Behavioural changes - rather than directly disclosing Overcoming Barriers • Fear of disbelief, one’s safety, repercussions • Lack of safe confidential spaces, people, structures in which to disclose • Lack of interpersonal or institutional support First Disclosure • Predominantly to friends • Support and belief from significant others may be the difference between further disclosure Withdrawal/Retraction • May occur due to negative reactions or fear of consequences Fragmentation • Disclosure may take place over time • May disclose a less serious aspect to test the response of the confidante Reaffirmation • Where a disclosure has been withdrawn, they may tell someone else or reaffirm their initial revelation Support-seeking Strategies • Validation, belief and/ or confirmation about the nature of the event • Emotional support Post-disclosure Responses • Extend support to others (i.e. non-offending caregivers) • Support disclosure is long term • Emphasis on returning control to victim/survivors
  6. 6. Physical Emotional/ Psychological Behavioural Social Vaginal, penile or anal soreness, discharge or bleeding. Sexual knowledge outside expected for developmental age Sexual behaviour outside that expected for age Fear of being alone with a particular person Psychosomatic symptoms Personality changes Regression in developmental milestones Changes to the child’s social network Recurrent nightmares Concentration difficulties Deterioration in academic functioning Increased psychological symptoms Fearful, anxious, regressed or avoidant behaviour with certain stimuli Risk taking behaviours Increased conduct problems Red Flags and Indicators in Young People
  7. 7. ♥ Paying particular interest to a child or young person; often has a ‘special’ child/young person friend. ♥ Isolates a child or young person from other children, family members or adults ♥ Engages in close inappropriate contact with children and young people; misses or ignores cues about personal boundaries. ♥ Demonstrates more interest in young people than adults; spends most of their spare time with young people and shows little interest in spending time with someone their own age. ♥ Engages in suspicious behaviour in relation to young people (watching/following/photos/gifts). ♥ Encourages silence and secrets. ♥ Describes young people with sexual words or talks about sexual activity involving children or young people. ♥ Seems unclear about what is appropriate. ♥ Looks at/downloads child exploitation material. Red Flags and Indicators in People who may Pose a Risk
  8. 8. Effects of Child Sexual Assault
  9. 9. Increased likelihood of: ♥ Requiring mental health services ♥ Meeting a mental health diagnosis in adulthood ♥ Re-victimisation ♥ Substance abuse ♥ Eating disorders ♥ Relationship difficulties ♥ Problems with identity formation ♥ Self harm, suicide and suicidal ideation ♥ Anti social behaviours Long Term Effects Seen in Young People
  10. 10.  We believe in the importance of taking an holistic approach to addressing this crime in our communities.  To truly break the silence we need to engage and collaborate with: – Survivors – Individuals – Communities – Organisations – Governments 3 Piers to Prevention: Educate, Empower, Protect
  11. 11. All children receive effective personal safety education Personal Safety is imbedded in the curriculum and is reinforced by external programs, other resources and learning aids Extra-curricular personal safety & age appropriate cyber-safety education for children aged 3 to 8 Extra-curricular age appropriate personal safety and cyber-safety for children and young people aged 9 to 17 Educate
  12. 12. All adults are trained, aware and motivated and with adequate support services available  Training  Awareness  Risk Management  Counselling  Advocacy support Empower
  13. 13. All systems of community and government engage effectively  Research and Legislative reform  Policy, procedure, practice –Risk Management  Statutory and other official interventions Protect
  14. 14. Hetty Johnston AM Founder and CEO pa@bravehearts.org.au Bravehearts Inc PO Box 575 Arundel, Qld 4214 1800 272 831 www.bravehearts.org.au
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