Commissioned research

Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley

  • Community awareness
  • Regional & remote
  • Therapeutic responses
  • Victims & survivors
Project Length
24 months
Project Budget
(funded by National Centre)
Funding Stream

Project Lead

Kristina Brenner, Sapphire Neighbourhood Services

Suzanne Milligan, Sapphire Neighbourhood Services

Project Team

Professor Lynne Keevers, University of Canberra 

Dr Christopher Pardy, Sapphire Neighbourhood Services 

James Brown, Sapphire Neighbourhood Services

Michelle Bonner, The Peregrine Centre for Social Innovation

Background and Aim

This project is the first research study to investigate the context, needs and help-seeking pathways of adults affected by child sexual abuse in the NSW Bega Valley. This is an under-explored topic area across many rural Australian communities. The project aims to identify ways to improve the healing journeys, and the formal and informal support structures, of people in the Bega Valley who have been directly or indirectly impacted by child sexual abuse. It will also explore situational barriers to child sexual abuse disclosure, help-seeking and support in rural communities.


This research adopts an embedded mixed-methods approach using the lens of collaborative inquiry, whereby participants are actively involved in all stages of the research process. Data collection will primarily involve anonymous telephone interviews and online surveys with 100 child sexual abuse survivors and 100 child sexual abuse support persons across a 12-month period. The research findings will be articulated from thematic and quantitative analyses and corroborated via focus groups and local service mapping.


This research will result in place-based solutions and participant-generated recommendations for agencies and community members to support victims and survivors and their support persons, opportunities for advocacy and localised self-organising responses to addressing child sexual abuse in the Bega Valley, and the option for participants to immediately access professional supports relating to their own experiences and healing journeys.

Related posts: 
  • Community awareness
  • Regional & remote
  • Therapeutic responses
  • Victims & survivors
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