Counselling and Advocacy Support
CASA House provides counselling and advocacy support to adult women and men who are victim/survivors of recent and past sexual assault.
A counselling and advocacy service also operates one day a week in:
We operate a self referral service which can be accessed by telephoning the Counselling & Support Line during business hours on (03) 9635 3610.
CASA House's approach to counselling and advocacy is based in our understanding of sexual assault as an act of violence that occurs within a social context and has both social and individual consequences. Victim/survivors often report the biggest impact of sexual assault is feeling they have lost a sense of power and control in their own lives. CASA House counselling and advocacy therefore aims to support victim/survivors to not only explore the social nature of sexual assault perpetration, but also to explore the individual impacts of sexual assault and regain a sense of power and control in their lives.
Advocacy at CASA House includes supporting service users to be aware of their rights. This may include negotiating on behalf of service users with police, lawyers and the courts, or perhaps assisting service users in gaining financial or housing assistance. Overall, counsellor/advocates act as a resource to service users to support a range of needs that might arise following the experience of sexual assault.
Why might I seek counselling support?
CASA House acknowledges that each victim/survivor is affected differently by a sexual assault. For example, some victim/survivors may choose to speak about their experiences. We believe every victim/survivor has the right to choose whether they seek counselling support after a sexual assault, or not.
Some victim/survivors may find counselling helpful if they are experiencing:
- thoughts, memories or nightmares which cause anxiety and distress
- noticeable changes in sleep patterns, appetite, behaviour or concentration
- difficulty in remembering or concentrating which impacts work, study or general living
- feelings of guilt, sadness or anger
- feelings of low self-esteem
- feeling isolated or misunderstood by family, friends or society at large.
What to expect from counselling at CASA House
CASA House offers short to medium term counselling of around 12 sessions, but longer term advocacy for service users who have ongoing legal involvement as a result of sexual assault.
CASA House counselling aims to support you to:
- explore and understand how sexual assault has impacted you
- identify and expand the strategies you use to manage the impacts
- speak about some of the thoughts and feelings you have about the sexual assault
- feel that the impacts of sexual assault do not dominate your life.
CASA House counselling is as varied as each victim/survivor. Although counsellor/advocates provide structure within counselling sessions, the counselling is based on what you wish to explore. Many victim/survivors do not wish to discuss details of the sexual assault, and instead prefer to focus on the impacts and how to begin understanding and addressing the impacts. Both options are available to you, and your counsellor/advocate will respect the decisions you make in relation to what you do, or do not, wish to discuss.
What to expect from your counsellor/advocate at CASA House
CASA House counsellor/advocates have specialist knowledge and skills in working with sexual assault impacts and come from a range of backgrounds including social workers, counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and art therapists.
The counsellor/advocate's role is to:
- provide a safe space to explore and express thoughts and feelings
- provide information about your rights and options, and through advocacy support you to exercise your rights if you request this
- help you explore and develop your personal strengths and resources.