Child sexual abuse survivors lend their voice to support others

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A new group comprised of child sexual abuse victim-survivors will help the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP) identify how best to tackle and respond to child sexual abuse, experienced by up to 30% of children.

Australia’s premier research centre for the prevention of child abuse and neglect, based at the University of South Australia,  will today launch the Lived Expertise Advisory Panel (LEAP), officially embedding the voice of victims and survivors into the ACCP’s programs.

The launch follows National Survivor’s Day (Tuesday 14 November).

The LEAP members will help ACCP develop the most practical and effective responses to victims-survivors across their life span, according to LEAP’s inaugural Chair, Craig Hughes-Cashmore.

“The voice of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse is vital in developing new solutions and strategies for preventing and responding to child sexual abuse,” Mr Hughes-Cashmore says.

“Their insights will ultimately inform best practice and help support the significant number of Australian adults who have experienced child sexual abuse.”

ACCP Director Professor Leah Bromfield says that while the Centre has increasingly embedded a survivor voice in its work relating to child sexual abuse, the new panel formalises the approach.

“With one in three females and one in five males experiencing child sexual abuse by the age of 18, it is important that new research, practice and training are informed by survivors,” Prof Bromfield says.

“The work of researchers and practitioners is more likely to be effective if it is guided by the insights and advice from survivors who have lived the reality we are trying to prevent.

“ACCP and LEAP members will work together to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse, and we hope the panel will serve as a model to others. The willingness of the LEAP inaugural panellists to draw upon painful, individual experiences to help others is remarkable, and I am incredibly grateful.”

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