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WWYW launches free support service for survivors of sexual violence


Never one to shy away from a challenge, What Were You Wearing? (WWYW) has launched free support services for survivors of sexual violence.

After recently making its mark in government, thanks to a 20,000-signature petition, the Newcastle-based not-for-profit organisation is determined to help as many people as possible.

So far, it’s fought for safe spaces at music festivals, venues and nightclubs; survivor packs (essential items for victims of crime); advocacy services such as ensuring patrons are treated fairly, know their rights and helping survivors get justice; and support groups run by professionals with expertise.

Now, WWYW’s latest initiative is the Healing Group.

It will be monitored by a counsellor or registered psychologist to bring survivors together to connect, learn healing techniques and encourage emotional safety.

WWYW founder Sarah Williams highlighted the significance of the service, which will take place monthly.

“Currently in the Newcastle region, there are no free groups or workshops that exclusively focus on sexual violence,” she said.

“We saw the importance of developing one that was free and easy to access for all survivors, regardless of their situation.

“It’s vital to us to have a counsellor or psychologist present at every healing group session, based on the nature of these groups.

“Victims of sexual assault often experience intense emotions after their experiences and may be triggered by certain topics and discussions.

“Having talks with a professional facilitator can help create emotional safety, offer support and ensure everyone’s boundaries and confidentiality is respected.”

WWYW’s head of administration Ethan Fraser admitted the establishment of the service had been in the works for a long time.

“The Healing Group is something we’ve been planning for quite a while,” he said.

“As a team mostly made up of survivors, it was crucial to offer this as a free service that anyone could access.

“We’re really proud to have bought it together with the help of some amazing counsellors and psychologists.

“These incredible people are collectively bringing decades of experience in providing evidence-based practices that can assist with healing.”

To register for What Were You Wearing’s Healing Groups, head to its website.

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