Ballarat CASA received funding for this program along with other CASA's across the state from the 1st October 2007. It followed concern around the growing number of children presenting across the State with problematic sexualised behaviours (PSB'S) (children under 10) and sexually abusive behaviours (SAB's) (young people 11 to under 15 years) and the lack of services available for them.
In 2017 Ballarat CASA received further funding to provide treatment services for young people up to the age of 17, in line with the changes in legislation and recommendations from the Victorian Family Violence Royal Commission.
Philosophy of the program
Early intervention of these behaviours can improve the well-being of the children with problem sexual behaviours and young people with sexually abusive behaviour's, and improve the wellbeing being of their victims (s) and the community. The objective is to prevent further occurrence of the behaviours, working in a holistic way with the children and young people to address the harm caused to all parties and promote the well-being of all the affected family members. The safety of all children is paramount.
Children or young people attending this program are aged up to 17 years when referred and have been displaying sexually abusive or problematic sexualised behaviours. Referrals are taken from schools, police, child protection, medical practitioners, welfare services, and parents.
About the program
CASA clinicians provide therapeutic treatment programs for children aged 3-10 years exhibiting problem sexual behaviours and young people 10-17 years exhibiting sexually abusive behaviours. This may include a Therapeutic Treatment Order, instigated either by Child Protection of Police and ordered through the family division of the Children's Court.
CASA's treatment programs encompass the exploration of the behavioural and emotional issues that lead children and young people to act out sexualised behaviours. Treatment aims to facilitate the awareness of - risks (to self and others), the impact of the behaviours on the victims, developing empathy and managing difficult emotions and feelings, as well as working towards risk prevention strategies. The family and support system of the young person are an important part of the treatment team in supporting the young person to cease sexualised behaviours and develop appropriate coping strategies.
CASA's work with children necessitates that the child/young person is safe and any abuse has been appropriately responded to. Clinicians will work with the child's network, such as family members, schools, carers to develop a safety plan to work towards ensuring that the behaviours cease.