The 15 Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) across Victoria provide services to victim / survivors of sexual assault, their non-offending family members, partners and friends.
The South Western Centre Against Sexual Assault (SW CASA) is funded by the State Government and is a department of South West Healthcare.
The main SW CASA office is based in Warrnambool with outreach services to Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne and Southern Grampians shires.
Sexual assault is any behaviour of a sexual nature that makes the person feel uncomfortable and afraid, and is usually illegal. Sexual assault can include verbal harassment, unwanted touching or fondling, exposure to pornographic material in either hard-copy or electronic format (computer, mobile phone, etc), attempted rape, rape, incest, suggestive behaviour or forced touching. Sexual assault happens to men as well as women.
In legal terms, in Victoria sexual assault is any sexual contact that is against a person's will or without consent. This includes situations where force, violence or weapons are used as well as situations where the victim is too intoxicated or scared to give consent. Consent depends on a person's ability to understand what the sexual act is, the implications of the sexual behaviour and on the ability to make an informed choice, without force or coercion. A person cannot consent to sexual activity if they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication that impairs thinking and awareness or if they are asleep or unconscious. Children do not have the ability to consent to any sexual act.
People wishing to access SW CASA services for themselves or another person can either phone or come into the office during business hours. Discussion with an intake worker will generally cover the details of the person for whom the service is being sought, guardian details if relevant and explore the current concerns or areas of difficulty being experienced.
Referrals by staff of other agencies can be via phone, letter or fax and referrals by professionals need to be made with consent of the person being referred. Services are free and your confidentiality will be maintained in accordance with our confidentiality policy. Recent sexual assaults and recent disclosures of sexual abuse by children are given a priority service response.
Referrals for SWCASA support is available whether the sexual assault is reported to police or not.
The facts are:
With assistance, healing is possible, confidence can be regained and productive lives continued.
There are some common reactions that are sometimes experienced after a life threatening trauma. It is reassuring to know how others react in similar situations.
You may experience:
These reactions are considered normal and may last a short period, be experienced intermittently over a longer period or be more problematic over the longer term.
These reactions can be very unpleasant and distressing.
Finding a way to express your feelings and talk about your responses can help.
SW CASA staff can assist with strategies for overcoming these and other consequences of having been sexually assaulted.
SW CASA acknowledges and promotes the rights of services users:
South West Healthcare
Warrnambool Vic 3280
Ruth Hellier House
299 Koroit Street Warrnambool
Ph: 03 5564 4144 or 1800 806 292
Fax: 03 5561 5116
Business Hours Monday - Friday. 8.30 am to 5 pm
SW CASA also offers regular services from Camperdown, Portland and Hamilton at the following locations:
Please call SWCASA at the Warrnambool office on 5564 4144 to make an appointment.
Community Health Centre
14 Manifold Street, Camperdown
Community Health Centre
33 Otway Street, Portland
Frances Hewett Community Health Centre
2 Roberts Street, Hamilton
Telephone counselling provided and face-to-face response can be arranged for recent assaults. This service is available 5.30pm - 9.00am weeknights and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays.
Ph: 1800 806292 - free call from landline (Charges will apply if you are calling from a mobile phone, so you can ask the counsellor to return your call)
Lifeline: 131 114 (24 hours)
Police: 000 (24 hour emergency number)
Warrnambool Police - Sexual Offences & Child Abuse Unit: 03 5560 1189
Warrnambool Police Station: 03 5560 1333
Department of Human Services - Child Protection: 9am - 5pm: 1800 075 599 5pm - 9am: 13 12 78