All victims have a right to heal from the damage inflicted upon them. All victims have a right to counselling to help them recover.
Australian victims can approach the Catholic Church through Towards Healing to obtain payment of their counselling costs, but this system is widely reported by victims as being abusive, unsatisfactory and designed to take advantage of victims’ vulnerability to protect the Church from facing its responsibility to victims. Towards Healing’s underlying objective is to protect the Church’s interests at the expense of victims’ needs, and it is staffed and funded by the Church’s insurers. A clear conflict of interest.
An alternative is to refuse to participate in Towards Healing and contact the Church directly to request they meet your counselling costs and have your bills sent direct to them.
Information from Broken Rites about Towards Healing
The Australian Government will pay approximately 50% of counselling costs through Medicare for up to 12 visits per year. The level of funding depends upon the type of counsellor you see – psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor. You need to obtain a referral from a doctor first for psychologists and psychiatrists. This is a relatively new system which, because of its popularity, is costing a lot more than originally expected. It may not continue at this level of funding, so if this system would be helpful to you, don’t leave it too long before exploring this option.
Medicare rebate for counselling services
NSW – Free Counselling for Victims
The good news for victims in NSW is that the Attorney General’s Department provides free counselling for victims of violence, including sexual assault, through Victims’ Services. This terrific service is fast, efficient and respectful of victims.
You do not need to make a police statement or have an interview with a public servant. The process is initiated by filling in a form giving brief details of the act of violence for which you are claiming.
The response is fast and the next step is to select a counsellor from a list of approved counsellors. There is some information available to help you choose. After an initial 2 hours of counselling to determine if you would benefit from this service, you can receive up to 20 hours of free counselling.
I have been through this system and am most impressed with it. I found it extremely helpful in my journey towards healing.
Congratulations to the NSW Government for getting something right.
There is no guarantee this system will continue indefinitely, so if you think it may be of help, I urge you to consider this option seriously. The act of violence must have taken place in NSW. You are still eligible even if you are not currently resident in NSW. It applies to historical offences.
Victim’s Services website
I will be investigating if other states offer similar programs. If you know of such a service, please email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add it to this page. The sooner we get this vital information out to silent victims, the sooner they can begin to recover.