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Parents and Carers

The West Street Centre provides a range of services for the non-offending* parents and carers of children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse.

We recognise that childhood sexual abuse harms more than the immediate victim and the ripple effects can impact on whole families and the broader community. In particular, we understand that parents or carers of children who have been sexually abused can also be significantly impacted. The impacts can be wide ranging on family members, including for example: realising that they have been tricked by the offending party and the feelings that accompany this, feeling like they should have known what was happening, or experiencing similar effects of trauma that their children may be experiencing like having nightmares or problems sleeping. We can provide counselling support to individual parents or carers who have been impacted by their child being assaulted.

When we work with children we usually work with parents/carers/families alongside of the work we do with the child that has been harmed. There are also times when we may suggest working primarily with non-offending parents. This particularly occurs when the child is very young (for example, under the age of six). Where a young child exhibits specific behaviours or responses to the abuse they have experienced, (for example, bedwetting) we will also work with that child and their parent/s to address this.

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* Parents/carers who are the subject of allegations of abuse may not be included in the work to prioritise the safety, needs and rights of children and young people.

Some reasons for excluding a parent/carer include:

  • They are on the NSW Commission for Children and Young People Child Protection Register

  • There is an open case at the Department of Communities and Justice with current concerns of risk of serious harm (ROSH) related to parental abuse

  • They are subject to a current apprehended violence order (AVO) in relation to the children and young people

  • They are currently incarcerated for offences relating to abuse of children or young people.

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