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New support services for survivors

Relationships Australia (SA) strongly supports the new funding by the Australian Government to support survivors of child sexual abuse who take part in or are affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Judith Cross, Chief Executive Officer of Relationships Australia (SA) said,

“Many people have been silenced and not believed for so long and it is vital that they have the opportunity to present to the Royal Commission and the support to do so. We are extremely pleased that our experience and expertise in providing Respond SA will now be used in supporting people for this Royal Commission.

“Respond SA advocates that we must all be responsive to childhood sexual abuse, it is a community responsibility to listen and take action.”

Relationships Australia (SA) is one of 28 organisations nationally to be approved by the Australian Government to provide support services.

Relationships Australia (SA) has been providing support services to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse since June 2004, when the South Australian Government funded Respond SA and CEO, Judith Cross, was appointed as the Social Work Advisor to the Mullighan Inquiry.

The Royal Commission will look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and a variety of religious bodies.

“Importantly, the Royal Commission will focus on broader groups than the Mullighan Inquiry, enabling disabled children, their families, those affected by sexual abuse in schools and other institutions as well as those who were abused in care, to have their voices hear.”

Support services will be available to survivors and their families.  Ms Cross said:

“People don’t have to be presenting to the Royal Commission in order to access support services. Some people will want information about the process, and for others some support in preparing themselves, or providing evidence or a submission. We will also provide counselling services, which support people in a broader way, as we know that during inquires such as these, people are often reminded on a daily basis about their past traumatic experiences. For many survivors, the trauma and torment of past experiences continue to have long term affects relationships and wellbeing.”

Respond SA website has information for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as the Royal Commission.  A small level of service is immediately available, and with the new funding, will be expanded in the next month to provide a proactive, responsive service for the duration of the Royal Commission.

Whilst the Royal Commission will not inquire into allegations of child sexual abuse within the family, we know that these families also require support and Respond SA will continue to provide specialist training to psychologists and counselors to provide this support.  A list of qualified people is available on the Respond SA website.

For further information about Respond SA and Relationships Australia (SA)’s support services for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, please visit

For more information about the Royal Commission’s support services visit, or email

Download New support services for survivors (Media Release)