Thursday, 7 March 2019

Workforce Development – Sexual Assault workers

By Jessica Wooley

What is Workforce Development?

Workforce development (WFD) is learning that staff must attend to increase their specialty knowledge. It is available to all clinical staff at CASA. There are 14 Centres Against Sexual Assault across Victoria and the Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) after hours service. Topics covered in WFD this year included ‘Shame in the treatment of those who have experience childhood sexual assault’, ‘Compassion focused therapy for survivors of childhood sexual abuse’ and ‘A synergetic approach to working with pre-teens and teens in play therapy’.

This program began 12 years ago, and develops workers’ skills and confidence, improving the quality and consistency of responses to victims/survivors of sexual assault. It is delivered by the CASA Forum, with SECASA as the lead agency.

In 2017/18, 21 days of sexual assault-specific training were delivered, training 421 of CASA’s sexual assault workers from across Victoria. There were 17 workshops, with four two-day workshops and 17 single day workshops.

A workshop on Sibling Abuse was presented by SECASA’s AWARE program. AWARE provides services to children with problem sexual behaviour and sexually abusive behaviour. In addition, senior clinicians presented a Specialist Assessment workshop for SECASA as part of workforce development. Specialist Assessment is a process of clarification when there are allegations of concern around sexual abuse. It is not counselling or investigation.

The workforce development program coordinator Sarah commended on the enthusiastic participation by SECASA workers in workshops.

It has been a great privilege to spend another year meeting new workers and getting to know those who have been in the sexual assault field for many years.

It is wonderful to watch connections forming and to see new workers grow from both their practice and the training they are attending. Workforce development is an invaluable asset to the sexual assault field,” she said.

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