Feds cut funding for child abuse support

Support services for child abuse survivors are under threat because of federal funding cuts to a key specialist provider – Adults Surviving Child Abuse.


ASCA lost funding for crucial survivor workshops from the federal government 12 months ago when a community investment program was folded.

From June 30, it will no longer receive money for training related to supporting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

As well as running workshops for survivors, ASCA runs a 1300 support line and helps train practitioners and organisations working with survivors identified through the commission.

The organisation was allocated funding for training other support services for two years and has now called on the federal government to extend it.

ASCA President Cathy Kezelman told AAP on Thursday that with the loss of the funding on two fronts, the organisation will be under greater stress.

Dr Kezelman says ASCA had been self-funding workshops for survivors over the last twelve months, but they were being run at a loss, however, results from the programs “has been really significant”.

“We have a philosophy of making them affordable, so we only charge a nominal fee, given many survivors struggle to afford or access specialist services at all,” Dr Kezelman said.

“These workshops are crucial in aiding survivors in turning their lives around.

“Given the huge $9.1 billion annual cost on the economy of unresolved childhood trauma, and the serious mental effects survivors have to deal with, it is essential that appropriate support services, such as the workshops program, are available to reduce these unacceptable impacts.”

At a crisis meeting on June 13, ASCA was forced to stop scheduling workshops for abuse survivors at a cost of $6000 each and has resorted to crowd-sourcing for funding, with a waiting list of 52 survivors.

In its submission on redress to the royal commission, ASCA called for an expansion of support services for abuse survivors.

The organisation says it is calling on the government to continue the funding as well as the institutions involved in the abuse.

“We would like to see them step up and show their support for these crucial services for survivors of these incredibly traumatic events,” she said.

“We will be seeking meetings with the Church and the schools involved for their help.”

The federal government in its response the royal commission’s consultation paper on redress said it did not have the power to run a national scheme and would not expand Medicare to give abuse survivors the help they needed.

The commission will make final recommendations on a redress scheme in August.

Comment is being sought from the federal government.