Childhood sexual assault: healing at Heartfelt house

Hearfelt house in Wollongbar, Lismore. Photo supplied.

Hearfelt house in Wollongbar, Lismore. Photo supplied.

Moving forward from childhood sexual abuse and creating a positive life is a challenge – supporting people to achieve this is the purpose of Heartfelt House (HFH) in Wollongbar near Lismore.

Since 2005 they have worked with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse through an 18 week group program called Taking the First Steps. This program is based on trauma informed care from the blue knot foundation. It aims to provide a healing environment where survivors feel heard, nurtured, understood, safe, validated, supported and accepted.

This Saturday, 24 June they are opening Hearfelt House and its lovely gardens to anyone interested in their work and programs to enjoy morning tea and a chance to learn about their program from 10am to 12noon.

The recent Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse identified the ‘Lismore diocese as the fourth worst diocese in Australia meaning that there are hundreds and possibly thousands of victims here,’ said Kate Loubet, the new CEO of Heartfelt house.

Operating as a not for profit organisation HFH has sustained its programs on a range of non-permanent funding providing support to both adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse as well as their families and friends. Alongside this they also provide training sessions for professionals who may come into contact with abuse survivors from nurses to lawyers.

‘The grants we have received so far don’t cover all the costs of running our programs,’ continued Kate.

‘We are hoping to get renewed funding in the next round of commonwealth grants mid this year. We are also urging state and local government to contribute to help meet our costs.’

Since the royal commission they have also received increased enquiries from men who would like to take the course.

‘There is a men’s course written that ran a few years ago but there is currently no funding to support it,’ said Kate.

‘The men as asking”what about us?” but there is nothing for them within 800 ams.’

For more information on HFH phone (02) 6628 8940,  email [email protected] or visit their website here.

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