The Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault Forum is committed to addressing all inequalities within society, which result in the perpetration of sexual violence against women, children and men. The Victorian CASA Forum therefore acknowledges that:
- sexual assault is both a consequence and a reinforcer of the power disparity existing between men and women/children.
- sexual assault occurs along a continuum of violent behaviour which includes: any uninvited sexual behaviour which makes the recipient feel uncomfortable, harassed or afraid; unwanted touching or remarks; sexual harassment; coerced sexual activity; and rape with physical violence and threat to life.
- the impact of sexual assault on the lives of victim/survivors is multi faceted and complex. It includes emotional, social, psychological, legal, health and political consequences. In order to facilitate a victim/survivor's recovery from sexual violence, the Forum recognises the importance of responding to each aspect in an appropriate and effective manner.
- the impact of sexual assault can be compounded by factors relating to the stratification of society by gender, culture, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, religion, ability and socio economic class.
Consistent with the above knowledge is the belief that:
- sexual assault is a crime against the individual and society. The entire community and all tiers of government should take responsibility for its occurrence and consequences and work towards its elimination.
- all CASAs must work toward the empowerment of service users, through the adoption of a service management (victims' rights advocacy) model where the focus of service provision must be to recent and past victim/survivors of sexual assault. Within this model service users are offered:
- choices and information about the services;
- help with looking at their options
- support in making informed choices and decisions in regards to the systems with which they will come into contact.
- the experience and resulting needs of victim/ survivors of sexual assault must influence the scope and direction of services provided by CASAs.