CF Service 

True Child & Family Service provides therapeutic and education services specialising in sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexually reactive behaviours. We work from a trauma-informed base and understand the specific impact trauma has on a child's development. Our therapists employ a variety of modalities including play, art, experiential, expressive, narrative and talk therapies. Counselling is free, confidential and always at the child's pace.

The Solander Centre
182 Grafton Street
Cairns Q 4870

PO Box 1678
Cairns Q 4870
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P 07 4031 3590
F 07 4031 6017
E childandfamily@true.org.au
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Who we work with

We work with children and young people who:

  • have experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse
  • display sexually reactive behaviours

by providing:

  • therapeutic support
  • personal safety education
  • safety planning

We also support:

  • non-offending family members, carers and significant others, and
  • professionals seeking advice or secondary consultation

Our services

Our services are free and confidential. Children and young people have the same counselling rights as adults, including the right to privacy and confidentiality. Counsellors will always ask your child’s permission to share information with you or others.

We have strict guidelines to ensure information is as private and secure as possible. Any records of your child’s/your contact with us are kept indefinitely, and can be accessed by request. More information on accessing records, privacy and confidentiality is available by contacting the service, and provided in your first session.

We are committed to making our services as accessible as possible. If you or your child requires a support person for counselling, or has communication, cultural or physical access needs, please discuss this with us as soon as possible so suitable arrangements can be made.

People accessing the service can expect to:

  • be treated in a professional and caring manner that respects and appreciates differences regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or personal values
  • tell your story and be believed
  • be provided with a physically and emotionally safe environment
  • have access to clear information about your counselling options, and be involved in decision making regarding these
  • have fair and equal access to the service
  • have your right to privacy and confidentiality protected to the greatest extent possible
  • make a complaint and expect that this will be investigated appropriately, without care being compromised in any way
  • have an interpreter, communication, cultural or support aide, if required

What is child sexual abuse?

  • Kissing, touching or holding a child in a sexual manner
  • Exposing a sexual body part to a child
  • Sending sexual images or messages to a child
  • Persistent intrusion of a child’s privacy
  • Showing pornographic material to a child
  • Having a child pose or perform in a sexual manner
  • Forcing a child to watch a sexual act
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Penetration and/or oral sex

Impacts of sexual abuse

Some children show signs of distress immediately after sexual abuse, whereas others might not show signs for some time.

Signs may include:

  • feeling anxious or hyper-vigilant
  • having trouble sleeping
  • difficulties making and maintaining relationships
  • depression
  • withdrawal
  • self loathing
  • self harm
  • aggression
  • confused thinking and/or possibly engaging in sexually reactive behaviours.

Sexually reactive behaviours

Sexually reactive behaviours (SRBs) are behaviours considered outside age-appropriate healthy sexual exploration.

SRBs may be solitary in nature or involve others. These behaviours need to be considered in the context of the child’s life and addressed accordingly.

The presence of SRBs does not necessarily mean a child has been sexually abused.

Personal Safety Education

All children have the right to be safe from abuse.

True Child & Family Service provides Personal Safety Education to ensure children are informed about their bodies and their rights, and given strategies to help keep themselves safe.

Safety Planning

Safety Planning involves considering all aspects of a child’s life and creating a plan to optimise their safety and protection. This approach mobilises and coordinates a network around a child to improve their overall safety outcomes.

How to support a child who has been sexually abused

  • Remain calm
  • Be a listener, not an investigator
  • Be sensitive and supportive
  • Tell them you believe them
  • Reassure them they are not in trouble
  • Talk about their right to be safe
  • Inform the Department of Child Safety and/or the Queensland Police Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU)
  • Contact True Child & Family Service for professional support

Feedback

We encourage people who use our service to give feedback—whether making a complaint, giving a compliment or making suggestions. Our aim is to identify and resolve issues as quickly as possible, and to improve service delivery.

You can do this anonymously or give your details, and request follow-up if you would like it.

You can give feedback:

  • verbally to any staff member you feel comfortable with
  • on service feedback forms, provided at your first session or from staff at any time on request
  • online via our 'Email us' form

These will all be forwarded to the service manager, and processed according to our service Complaints Policy on a ‘need-to-know’ basis only.

If you have a serious concern or complaint about the conduct of your counsellor, you can speak to the service manager directly or ask for contact information to tell your concerns to the staff member’s professional registration body.

If you have feedback or complaints about our service that you wish to make to our funding body, you can contact:

The Regional Manager, Community Services
Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services
PO Box 1696
Cairns QLD 4870
(07) 4036 5300

You have the right:

  • to the fair and prompt investigation of any complaints you may have about the services you have received
  • to make a complaint without being disadvantaged
  • to make a complaint verbally or in writing
  • to have an advocate, translator or support person present if making a complaint
  • to be informed of the outcome of your complaint as soon as possible

You can ask any staff member for a full copy of our complaints policy.

Other services which could help

Department of Child Safety    Phone 4052 9500 
Kids Helpline   Phone 1800 551 800
Lifeline   Phone 13 11 14
Sexual Assault Helpline

Phone 1800 010 120
1800 RESPECT

Phone 1800 737 732