Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2168 ..
First, I am pleased to report that information on how to access ACT government sexual assault care and support services was updated on the ACT Health website on 1 April 2021. This update ensures that appropriate and consistent contact points are easy to find in what is a traumatic and difficult time for victim-survivors.
It is important to emphasise that access to appropriate health services following sexual assault follows a “no wrong door” approach. A person can access services by presenting to an emergency department, calling the numbers that are provided online, or via their contact with ACT Policing should they choose to report the matter to police. The service offered by FAMSAC is free to all patients, and information and treatment are strictly confidential.
I note Deputy Chief Minister Berry’s recent announcement, on 29 June, of the increase in the safer families levy. This commitment to an increase in funding of $2.2 million over four years for more front-line domestic violence and rape crisis services in the ACT will enable the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service to meet increased service demand.
As I did in the earlier debate, I want to acknowledge the work of the FAMSAC service and recognise this service as the gold standard when providing medical care and/or forensic examination to people following sexual assault. The FAMSAC team ensure that they offer a safe and caring environment for victim-survivors of sexual assault, and they lead Australia in accessibility, service provision and expertise.
The philosophy embedded in the treatment and care provided by the doctors and nurses in the FAMSAC team is to ensure that they are meeting the patients’ needs and respecting their choices. A person who has experienced sexual assault and presented at an emergency department may not be sure of what they want to do next, so the FAMSAC service makes sure that they are supported to make the choices that are right for them. FAMSAC does this by working closely with other organisations that support people in the Canberra community, following sexual assault, such as the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre.
Everyone who accesses FAMSAC is offered medical support, and this treatment and care are provided through a trauma-informed care lens. Currently, FAMSAC is accredited as a training facility for specialist staff by the Faculty of Clinical Forensic Medicine within the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia. FAMSAC is committed to providing the best evidence-based care that they possibly can, and I commend them for the work they do in supporting the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I would also like to acknowledge the important work of the ACT Policing Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team, SACAT. While all detectives within ACT Policing are trained to investigate sexual offences, SACAT is a specialised team, whose primary function is the investigation of sexual assault offences against adults and children.