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The Survivor Hub: Building The Forgotten Steps in The Ladder of Support

Jan 12, 2024

I know I'm not alone when I say every year I finish up burnt the fuck out! Sometimes I can't switch off because my mind is busy mentally online, identifying support gaps and opportunities for services, education providers, businesses and individuals and envisioning creative solutions to fill them. Yep, it's exhausting for not only me but those closest to me. But I also love it because it's what I'm here to do, that and be the best mum I can be and have a shit ton of fun along the way! 

That's why it was a no brainer to partner with The Survivor Hub to offer free monthly peer support groups for victim survivors of sexual assault for my local community in Gosford. Survivor Hub offer online and in-person support groups throughout NSW and Victoria for anyone 16 plus.

Here's what the founders of The Survivor Hub had to say about how they started.

"We came together in 2021 to be an informative, inclusive and supportive network curated by survivors, for survivors. Our community is a place to find connection – a place to connect with others who can relate and understand. By creating safe spaces to share lived experiences, our community also provides fellow survivors and their allies with knowledge to empower them to make informed decisions about their own circumstances.

They continue,

"We recognise that trauma can manifest in a myriad of ways. When faced with earth-shattering events, there is no one-size-fits-all approach or method for recovery. It is a long process with some mountainous ups and downs along the way. Whilst this can be a difficult journey, our community is a safe space for survivors and their allies to gain knowledge, support and understanding about what the process of healing from sexual assault can look like at a practical, emotional and psychological level."

OMG! I love this on so many levels. The biggest thing I'm noticing in the support space for victim-survivors is the need for 'hand-holding' to access support. Now, I don't say hand-holding in a derogatory way.

It was actually the brave words shared by a young woman who recently reached out and thanked me for helping her gain the confidence to attend the vision board workshop I'm soon to facilitate on Sunday at Bamboo Buddha on the Central Coast.

I mean, we all need some form of 'hand-holding' throughout our lives to learn new skills, right? And accessing support is just like any other skill, it takes practice, it takes time to learn, it takes someone to show us how, and help us overcome the fear of the unknown, especially if you have grown up in an environment or culture where help seeking was taboo or their was a stigma attached.

So here's the way I see it.

There's a ladder of support options available but it's clear the first rung in the ladder is missing and it's 'hand-holding' support. I've seen it in schools that don't allow wellbeing staff to do outreach work. It's obvious, we need to meet people where their at and if their refusing to come to school or have fears around accessing support, the response should always be,

"That's ok, we'll come to you. Professional, private, confidential and safe with someone you can trust."

But sometimes we might not be ready for face to face support interactions and that's ok. It could be book recommendations to inspire conversations- or just having access to support people online.

We need to develop more safe options to meet people where their at. 

Since COVID, we are grateful to see so many services take their support services online making it accessible for people to receive support in the comfort of their own homes, with the option for anonymity. Something I truly appreciated after the birth of my daughter during lock down learning I could access free counselling through the victims support scheme. Highly recommend looking into what they offer if you live in NSW.

There seems to be this expectation of victim survivors to disclose their trauma as the gateway to accessing support but this should not be the case. There is stigma whether it's true or not with identifying yourself as a victim-survivor of sexual assault. Some people don't like that label and I get it because for too long society has put the blame on victims instead of the perpetrators and thanks to the many powerful advocates who have come before us and whom are amongst us at present, this is changing.

More and more survivors are feeling safe to access the support they rightfully deserve having lived with the impacts of their trauma alone and isolated, in shame and in silence. 

That's why I'm passionate about removing barriers to accessing support and creating more gentle soft entry places to access support.

The Survivor Hub doesn't pressure anyone into doing anything they don't feel comfortable doing. Their model respects the rights of a person to choose their healing journey and that's a value we share deeply. Something I really enjoyed hearing from Anna Coutts-Trotter one of the founders of The Survivor Hub on her recent Triple J Hack episode where she shared how her parents let her lead her own healing path.

So this year, I want to focus my energy on offering more gentle, soft entry creative options for victim survivors to access support on their terms.

It will be a year of experimentation. Perhaps more online options. Perhaps more prerecording options. Perhaps more light, fun, in-person creative workshops. Perhaps online support for young people. Perhaps day retreats. 

This year is filled with opportunity to make someone's life just a little easier and I'm here for it!

This year I know I need to take care of my energy if I want to achieve everything I want and that will be my biggest challenge (because I do love a wine!)

But I'm here for it! And I'm here with you and for you. 

Let's make this year, our year to shine bright like the diamonds we are my beautiful friends. 

I'd love to hear from you and what your plans are for 2024? 

You can email me at [email protected]

Chat soon. :)

Your friend, 






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