START has separate referral forms for both adults and children/young people.
- Anyone can receive and fill these forms out. The forms can be downloaded from this website or by contacting START. Please note that the hard copy of the completed and signed form will need to be sent to START via fax, scan or post (legal guardian consent required).
- START staff meet weekly to consider all new referrals. Each referral is considered individually, and for children & young people under 17 years of age, on the basis of reports received from the statutory investigator involved. If it is decided that START is not the best agency to meet the individual’s needs at the time, staff will be happy to suggest other options for services.
Referrals for Children & Young People
In order to provide optimal conditions for successful counselling for children & young people under 17 years of age who have been victims of sexual violence, START has developed 3 important criteria for accepting referrals:
- A FORMAL DISCLOSURE of sexual abuse has been made to a statutory authority (CYFS or Police).
START is not legally empowered to investigate sexual abuse allegations and therefore requires a statutory agency to have looked into what has happened and establish the on-going safety of the young person. This also protects the young person’s legal rights and often indicates a young person’s readiness to start addressing any impacts of the abuse.
- The young person is deemed to be SAFE FROM THE PERSON THEY SAY HAS OFFENDED AGAINST THEM.
To commence therapy for abuse, young people must be physically, emotionally and mentally safe which means that START expects them to not be having contact with the person they say has hurt them (by phone, in person, mail or internet). This creates space for the young person to be able to explore their feelings about the abuse without having to emotionally protect themselves every time there is contact.
- The young person is BELIEVED in their allegation, is in a SETTLED living arrangement where there is some predictability and has a SUPPORTIVE ADULT to attend counselling with them.
When young people are able to leave aside basic survival concerns they have more energy to deal with their emotional needs.
When parents/caregivers have concerns about the impact of sexual abuse they benefit from having someone to discuss these with and this enables them to have more energy to deal with their children’s emotional needs.