Delivery to the Gatehouse Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital
On 13 March we were fortunate enough to deliver our second round of donations collected through the recent Gatehouse Appeal We provided these donations to the CASA Gatehouse Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
CASA is an organisation that is on the front line of helping victims of sexual abuse. They provide a range of different services from 24 hour crisis care, counseling services, advocacy, group work, prevention programs through to professional training and resource development.
The donations that Restoring Hope Inc. collected came from members of the community who were very generous in donating so much to help children and young adults in their recovery from sexual abuse. Carolyn Whitehouse, the senior clinician at Sexual Assault Support Services/CASA met us with one of her colleagues to help unload the car and pile up the trolleys high with boxes full of the much needed items.
Whilst we were with them we were provided with a tour of their facilities and had ample time to chat about the services that are provided. Our first stop on the tour was the area where victims have evidence collected. Although the area seems quite stark and a little t intimidating, the staff showed amazing care and support, and I couldn’t help but feel for them and acknowledged how challenging it must be for them to provide the help that they do. This area is kept separate from the Emergency Department for the requirements in collecting evidence without contamination, and most importantly the need for privacy, both in terms of the comfort of the victims as well as the sheer value of having an area separate from the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital. This helps the victims, doctors, police and other staff to focus on the evidence collection process.
CASA directly assists a mind-boggling number of victims every year. Carolyn explained that just over 100 children and adolescents are seen in the crisis care unit alone and around 1400 children and adolescents are seen in the therapy rooms at the Gatehouse Centre per year. Even more staggering is that this is just one of 15 statewide centers that deal with this situation on a daily basis. As you can imagine, the scale of this problem is far greater than most would know.
During our tour we visited the therapy rooms, Caroline explained how they provide therapy to young children, .she went on to tell us that they use play therapy, this is where children play with sand, figurines, chairs, toys and all sorts of play based items, so that they can build and try to express some of the things they are feeling without needing to talk directly about what they experienced. The therapists draw conclusions while working with the children in a way that allows them to heal without directly needing to ask them questions which may make them feel worse.
We had an insightful day at CASA, I really felt that we learned a lot about how these organisations are working towards helping victims of sexual crimes. It was extremely rewarding to be able to deliver piles of wonderful donations from the Victorian community.
If you would like to help us to continue to provide the support that the victims of sexual abuse need, please contact us via our Contact Page.
Financial donations, clothing, toiletries and craft items are in high demand and greatly appreciated.