Need Immediate Help?

Are you safe?

Your safety should be your number one priority. You have the right to feel safe and secure, so if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, you should always call the police. If you feel uncomfortable contacting the authorities, you should contact someone in your family or community you trust. Just to remind you, your safety is paramount.

NT Police

Ruby Gaea | Darwin Centre Against Sexual Violence Inc.

Sexual Assault Referal Centres (SARC)

Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) provide a safe, confidential and supportive environment for victims of sexual assault. SARCs offer free, independent and specialist support to anyone who has experienced sexual assault.

Catherine Booth House

Darwin Aboriginal & Islander Women’s Shelter (DAIWS)

Dawn House

Ruby Gaea | Darwin Centre Against
Sexual Violence Inc.


YWCA Domestic and Family Violence Centre

08 8932 9155

Why Can’t She/He Forget?

Information For Partners Of People Who Were Sexually Abused In Childhood

What Is Child Sexual Abuse?

The sexual ·abuse of children is far more common than most people realise. At least 1 in 3 girls & 1 in 5 boys are abused in childhood. In most cases, the abuser is someone known & trusted by the child, & is usually male. Fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles & brothers are the most common. Abusers are men who are found across the full range of cultural, socio-economic & geographic groups. The abuse could range from sexual suggestions through to violent rape. It may only happen once, but it is more likely to be a frequent occurrence over an extended period of time.


The most significant & damaging characteristics of child sexual abuse are


  • The misuse of adult power
  • The betrayal of a child’s trust affection
  • The denial of a child’s right to feel safe valued
  • The violation of a child’s personal boundaries
    sense of self

Sexual Abuse Is A Crime The Victim Is Never To Blame

The abuser knows that what he is doing is wrong, so he attempts to avoid detection. This often includes making the child feel responsible for what he is doing to her/him, or making threats about what will happen ifs/he tells anyone. The child is kept silent through fear & shame, & the thought that no-one would believe her/him if s/he told. Unfortunately, when children do tell they are often not believed or not supported.


Even as adults, it is very difficult for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to talk about what happened.

They still fear being blamed or disbelieved, & it takes great courage to finally break the silence.
Anyone who has experienced childhood sexual abuse has lived through a traumatic experience which can have severe & lasting effects.

S/he is also a strong, resourceful & courageous person who has survived & coped in whatever ways have been available to her/him.

S/he deserves support in her/his attempts to resolve the effects of abuse in her/his life & develop more positive coping strategies.


  • Believe the survivor
  • Listen to her/him
  • Recognize the harm that was done to her/him
  • Validate her/his feelings-pain, fear & anger are natural reactions
  • Ask her/him whats/he needs from you
  • Help out in practical ways
  • Respect her/his strength as a survivor
  • Encourage her/him to get support
  • Seek support for yourself (with her/his permission)
  • Seek help if s/he is suicida


  • Ignore it
  • Take charge
  • Blame her/him
  • Sympathise with the abuser
  • Press for details of the abuse
  • Offer support you can’t provide
  • Expect her/him to support you if you have trouble coping with her/his pain