Odyssey House Victoria - Recognising and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse

Odyssey House Victoria - Recognising and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse

What is the research about?

Odyssey House Victoria (OHV) is a leading alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment provider. In addition to problematic substance use, most families the agency works with experience domestic and family violence and mental health issues, underpinned by histories of intergenerational trauma and poverty. Anecdotally, staff members report that most clients have experienced child sexual abuse (CSA). In 2021, OHV successfully applied to Westpac for an Impact Grant to bring an AOD lens to CSA responses. This study examines how OHV is identifying, understanding, and responding to CSA among clients’ children and influencing practice change across the AOD sector.

Research Design 

This study uses mixed-methods, with a pre-test/post-test design, based on data collected for clinical purposes, surveys with staff, communities of practice, focus groups, and key informant interviews.

What is happening now?

A literature review is being undertaken to inform the study. A review of de-identified case files utilizing content analysis is due to commence.

Why is the research important?

Recent research evidence cites the siloed service system as a significant barrier in protecting children from all forms of violence, including sexual assault, and highlights the need for holistic interventions (Herbert & Bromfield, 2017; Stathopoulos & Jenkinson, 2016). Increasing the capacity of the AOD sector to identify and respond to CSA is a significant contribution towards prevention efforts and early intervention to support children and families.

Research Team

Menka Tsantefski