At West Street Centre we are ethically committed to feminism, holistic service delivery, equity of access to services, social justice and intersectional cultural diversity.
Feminist Traditions of West Street Centre
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is understood within feminist constructs of patriarchal institutions and structures of POWER.
CSA is a criminal act that has legal implications for both perpetrator and victim of the abuse. It is also a violation of human rights against the individual, community (particularly vulnerable communities eg. people with disabilities, Indigenous, refugees, older people) and society as a whole.
CSA is gendered – available statistical evidence tells us men are more likely to be the perpetrators of violence against women and children (97% of all reported sexual assaults in Australia are perpetrated by males). We acknowledge that men are also subjected to violence and abuse and that there are communities of men who experience greater vulnerability in this regard. However available statistical evidence also tells us that men are more likely to be abused / assaulted by other men.
We also acknowledge that the small proportion of women who sexually abuse children are abusing power in the same way as men and harms to children (regardless of their gender) are similar.
We acknowledge that CSA and Intimate Partner Violence (coercive control) may be nuanced and enacted in the context of an apparently loving relationship and may even involve a degree of tenderness. This does not make it any less harmful, nor any less criminal. The common denominator is the facilitation of a climate of fear in which to manipulate, intimidate and coerce.
CSA is experienced in the context of a relationship and rarely a one-off incident. In order to access children for abuse, perpetrators engage in ‘grooming’ of both child and their carers.
We are aware of the power we hold as professional practitioners and take seriously our responsibilities to create a culture of safety for both clients, volunteers and staff.