By Jessica Wooley
CASA duty teams are made up of especially trained and qualified sexual assault and family violence counsellors. Each CASA has their own duty worker who will answer crisis calls during business hours. After hours these calls are answered by the Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) 1800 806 292. This service is provided free of cost.
People who call SECASA’s crisis line can speak with a duty worker and discuss their worries or concerns about sexual assault or family violence. The duty worker is able to take referrals and make appointments for counselling. The SECASA duty worker is located at Monash Medical Centre in Clayton. The duty team works closely with police and hospital staff to provide survivors of recent assault a comprehensive service.
Professional agencies may also call the duty team to obtain advice and for secondary consultations about their clients, or to refer their clients to SECASA. The duty team also take referrals for SECASA’s AWARE program [https://www.secasa.com.au/services/services-for-youth-with-abusive-sexual-behaviours/ ] for people aged 10-18 with sexually abusive behaviour (SAB) or problem sexual behaviour (PSB).
The main highlight of the financial year for the duty team has been putting together a checklist and guide to standardise how to duty calls are answered and a guide for SECASA’s on-call after hours duty service. This checklist provides a reliable guide for the team to follow and assists duty workers to deliver a consistent service to clients. Use of the checklist will be fully implemented in the 2018/19 financial year.
Duty team leader Harriet has been working with the team throughout the year. She assists with duty calls when it is busy and ensures everything runs smoothly. She provides support to the counsellor on duty. She ensures that material resources, such as supplies of clothing, are restocked. A stock of new clothes is always kept on hand as recent assault victims are often asked to surrender their clothes for forensic examination. SECASA provides replacement clothes for victims to wear home. Harriet also ensures that written resources are up to date. She plays a key role in communicating with members of the Monash Medical Centre to ensure they know they can refer clients onto the duty team.
In the future, Harriet hopes to have two people on duty across all five days of the week to ensure that there are enough people to cover the large demand.