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New Bravehearts service to support survivors of child sexual assault

AN altruistic Irishman and generous community spirit is helping Bravehearts to support survivors of child sexual assault with a new counselling service set to benefit up to 10 clients each week at Caboolture, north of Brisbane.
The service is funded by the Queensland Department of Child Safety while local law firm Maurice Blackburn has donated space at its premises for Bravehearts to provide counselling twice a week.
Bravehearts has appointed counsellor Colm Sands (pictured with Tahnee Christensen from Maurice Blackburn) to the position and it’s one the affable 32-year-old Irish national said he was looking forward to. 
“The name Bravehearts first drew me in as it signified patriotism and freedom,” he said.
“Then I researched what the organisation did and saw that it represented everything that I wanted to do in my career. I am passionate about child protection and helping people to overcome trauma.
“I’m looking forward to helping people in this community and feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful and dedicated therapeutic team at Bravehearts.”
Bravehearts Counselling Service is the Queensland Police preferred provider of support for victims of child sexual assault. There has been 121 referrals in SEQ over the past three months with Caboolture and Toowoomba identified as having the highest number. There were 91 female and 30 male.
Of those 27 were aged under 10 years; 43 (11-20 years); 12 (21-30 years); 22 (31-40 years); 14 (41-50) and three aged from 51-60.
Bravehearts Therapeutic Services Manager Dr Deirdre Thompson, said an increasing number of victims were breaking their silence, many disclosing for the first time.
“Bravehearts has observed a rise in the number of adolescents being referred to the service and in particular those who have been subject to a recent assault,” she said.
“In response to the increase in people seeking counselling in this age bracket, Bravehearts has developed a therapeutic group specifically for adolescents as well getting our staff trained in the Lovebites Program – which is delivered in high schools.”
In the last month, Bravehearts provided 400 counselling sessions from its three SEQ offices at Gold Coast, Springwood and Strathpine.
Need to talk to someone? Bravehearts is here to help: 1800 272 831.