'You are not alone': Funds for Burnett sexual abuse support
SOUTH Burnett youth will gain greater support through a new early intervention service to address sexual abuse and sexual violence.
The Queensland Government will invest $900,000 over three years in the service.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer, said the funding had been awarded to Laurel Place, based in Murgon, to provide a new early intervention service providing sexual abuse and sexual violence counselling.
The funds will also employ a dedicated youth worker.
"Sexual violence is pervasive and occurs everywhere, in regional and rural communities as well as in metropolitan areas,” Ms Farmer said.
"That's why we're investing $7.7 million across five Queensland locations, to make sure every community has the services they need.”
Laurel Place executive director Karen Aspinall said there had been a growing awareness and community concern for children and young people affected.
"At Laurel Place we feel very privileged to have this opportunity to really make a difference in reducing the impact of sexual violence and preventing its occurrence,” she said.
"This initiative is a new and innovative approach to reducing youth sexual violence that will benefit our communities for generations to come.”
The Laurel Place centre in Murgon provides counselling support to children, but also has centres in Maroochydore, Gympie and Moreton Bay.
The funding will continue the government's ongoing support for vital services for survivors.
Ms Farmer said this investment coincided with October as Sexual Violence Awareness Month, which is themed Start by Believing.
"Sexual violence is under-reported, and too many victims think they can't come forward,” Ms Farmer said.
"Start by Believing is about ending the cycle of silence and overcoming the barriers that prevent survivors from reporting sexual violence.”
The vital services will be put in place to encourage more young people to come forward.
"The Palaszczuk government is here to say to young victims of sexual violence that you are not alone,” Ms Farmer said.
"We believe you, and you can come forward.”
Ms Farmer said these types of services were one of the main priority areas highlighted in the March 2017 Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Final Report.
"The report found that youth sexual violence and abuse is a state-wide issue, affecting people in urban, regional and remote communities in Queensland,” she said.
"It found that communities most affected by youth sexual violence and abuse also experienced a higher rate of social, economic and intergenerational disadvantage - and we need to break this cycle.”
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual violence, call 1800 RESPECT.