Sexual abuse and the impacts of abuse related trauma continue to be a significant social issue with up to 27% of Australian females and 12% of males reporting experiencing childhood sexual abuse. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that service systems in Australia do not have the capacity to meet the therapeutic and support needs of victim survivors, particularly noting the lack of therapeutic services for children and young people.
The Royal Commission found that there was especially an urgent need for better evidence on effective responses to complex trauma; a common and difficult to treat outcome of abuse-related trauma in childhood. The Royal Commission also noted that there was a need for high quality workforce development in the provision of evidence-based therapeutic services for abuse related trauma.
In response to this recommendation, the initial focus of the PERCAN will be on the development of a therapeutic response designed for WA children with abuse-related complex trauma.
Recognising the crucial importance of culturally competent therapeutic responses for Aboriginal children, it is intended that the initial focus be centred on the co-design of a high quality evidence-informed therapeutic response to Aboriginal children with complex trauma, which can be adapted for use with non-Aboriginal children.