The findings from TILES research into experiences of sexual violence and support services in southern Tasmania have been released. The research was conducted for Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) through interviews with nine community members and 21 stakeholder representatives, including community services, advocacy and government bodies.
The 50-page report found wide-spread experiences of sexual violence with localised examples and challenges in service access. One key finding was the prevalence of sexual violence as part of intimate partner and family violence.
Findings show that due to Tasmania’s small population, with lots of places where everyone knows everyone, it can be difficult for people to seek confidential help. Similarly, certain behaviours can become ‘normal’ in close-knit communities, making it difficult to break away from harmful patterns.
SASS CEO Jill Maxwell said, “The targeted nature of the research has provided some great insights. It’s also demonstrated a scope for potential further research in other areas around the state.”
Dr Jess Rodgers lead researcher said, “While our multidisciplinary team conducted the research, it was the engagement from community members and stakeholders that informed the recommendations that will lead to service delivery improvements.”
Actions planned by SASS to address the report recommendations include:
- Training and community education and awareness on prevalence of sexual violence in intimate partner and family relationship contexts, including specific issues around consent, stigma, shame and harm in these contexts;
- Expanding workshop offerings for people who are likely to receive disclosures of sexual violence, particularly in regional areas; and
- Exploring opportunities for expanding SASS outreach services, including embedded in other local services where appropriate.
SASS will share the report with the Premier’s office, the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, and the project leader for the Multidisciplinary Centre.
The research was conducted by a team from Policing and Emergency Management in the School of Social Sciences, the School of Law, and the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Tasmania. TILES hopes to co-develop future research with Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse communities to identify their experiences and support needs.
The research was enabled by the generous support of the Elsie Cameron Foundation.
SASS is a Hobart-based, free and confidential service in Tasmania for people of all ages who have been affected by any form of sexual violence. In addition to support services, they provide training and workshops, and policy and consultation.
If you need support for experiences of sexual violence, please see this range of services [PDF150KB].