“I just wanted to say thank you Heal For Life I had a crisis situation with my little boy, I did not know what to do, or where to turn.

I rang Liz in a state of panic I told her of my situation and that my little boy had been triggered very badly and I was at my end to know what to do about it. Within 10 minutes she had organised an emergency counselling session and a day of intensive counselling in a few days. I cant say how grateful I am for the help we have received.

Thank you to the Heal For Life Team”.

Chris (March 2014)

“I just wanted to once again touch base with you all to say thank you for all that you do there at Heal for Life. You have all made such a huge impact on my 10 year old son Alex’s life.

During conversations he often says “yeah we learnt about that at Heal for Life”. Tonight when him and I were hanging out eating our ‘healthy’ McDonalds dinner box, Alex read a question on the side of the box that said “Who is your hero”. Alex thought about it for a little bit and then responded ” Liz from Heal for life is my hero because she has taught me so much in my life” Thankfully my husband and I got a mention in there too but Liz far out shone us LOL.

Our family as a whole is so blessed to have you all doing what you do. There is simply no ‘service’ that compares to the impact that you are having on so many lives daily.

Thank you xx

Feel free to use my email testimony in any funding material or publicity.”

Kind regards,

Christine Cassaniti (2013)

“I wanted to make more friends … now … I have more friends in and out of school”

“I wanted to not be afraid to sleep without the light on … now … I can turn my own light off before I get into bed”

“I wanted to not put myself down all the time … now … I know I am a good and clever person”

“I wanted to stop wetting the bed … now … I have gone 14 nights straight without wetting”

“I wanted to improve my school work … now … I got really good marks for my last assignment”

“I wanted to change the way I speak to people when I’m angry or upset … now … Mum says I don’t fight with my brother as much anymore”

“I wanted to not feel frightened when I visited other people’s houses, whether they’ve got a brother or not … now … I can visit”

…….Speech given by a mother whose 7 year old son had  attended Kids Camp 

When I found out 2 years ago that my little boy who had just turned 6 had been sexually abused for a good part of the year before. It was like a bomb had gone off and we were all dazed and shocked in the aftermath.

He suffered abuse that could only be described as extreme, being taken from his bed at night and drugged and tied up,  being shown child pornography where little boys were being hurt and crying,  being made to cover tracks as he was driven into the bush to secret location where it seems he was being videoed whilst being sexually abused …..he was just 5 at the time.. This being the man I had told him to trust and to go to for help. The man that was given access to my children through the courts.

If I had any knowledge of trauma I would have recognised the signs that my son had been displaying well before he verbally told me of the abuse.. I found that I was not the only one who was in the dark on this subject  government  departments  who are meant to help also had no knowledge of trauma its signs or its impact on a young child’s mind.

I cant tell you how upsetting it is to have ill informed comments like get over it, move on, deal with it being thrown at you at every turn. When anyone who has been traumatised will know that this is not possible , not possible without treatment, anyone who has been traumatised will know that the trauma is relived again and again every time that there is a trigger,  this could be something as insignificant as a smell, a word or an action.

The unwillingness of all to believe this happens is truly scary. No one wants to believe….. no one wants to know. ….. This I find shameful .. sexual abuse needs to be bought out of the closet and into the open… the victims need to be acknowledged and treated….

Institutions such as  schools need to have training on recognising trauma and abuse and dealing with the children who are victims.  I was continually told that all the signs that my son was exhibiting was due to my bad parenting not abuse and my best course of action was to pull myself together and get on with it, move forward, don’t dwell on these things.. My upset and tears when I told of the abuse and at my child’s distraught behaviour was described by the school as bizarre.

It seems that the attitude of pretending it has not happened and not talking about this subject is pervasive throughout our society.

Without having gone through this,..  No one has any understanding of the huge impact something like this has on the whole families life,… no understanding of the attitudes of those around you… and of those we had to deal with. We were to find that most people would prefer to believe that this is made up.. rather than face the horrible truth.. that this happens.

Those of us that have had to deal with the children that have been the victims of this crime know that it will impact on the child and yourself probably everyday for the rest of their lives unless they receive the help that they need early.

Before this man was granted access to my children      They were both happy and well adjusted , my little boy who was only four when visits started always had a big grin on his face and was described by all as a sweet caring, intelligent and gentle  little boy extremely popular with his peers at preschool.

By age six I had a child who screamed constantly, told me his head was exploding, hit and punched his sister and himself saying he was ugly and stupid and that nobody liked him,…. He  had no friends, was isolated and lonely, rarely smiling, I was unable to ask him to do even the simplest things without a huge.. angry emotional uproar. He  was unable to take in school work, unable to focus or listen.  Disassociation was common where he would act out and relive parts of the abuse running around naked and pinning his sister down while he tried to mount her. Unable to be heard or stopped. Screaming at every minor injury or seen injustice. Dropping him off to School was horrific ….(he was being picked up from school by the abuser every second Friday as per court orders so he associated school with this man.  ) he would scream punch and kick not get out of bed, not get ready, not get in the car, not get out of the car. To this day I still have trouble with getting him in the car and out at the other end, even though we have changed location and schools. I had the school at that time telling me I had caused this,…. they described it as an unhealthy attachment …..even after I had told them what had happened…..Our home was more like a war zone than the previously calm and tidy home that we once had. His inability to function properly at school and to achieve what was expected  again was attributed to my not helping him with homework….. Not the result of the sexual abuse and the trauma inflicted.

Instead of us receiving the help and support as you would expect  in a situation such as this . As would be the case If I had said he was suffering from cancer where we would have found help everywhere….  We were ostracised and cut off.

When looking for somewhere for my little boy to get counseling I spent days on the phone trying to find someone to see him.

Very few will deal with these cases the paperwork is an obstacle.

I found out about Heal for Life when told about them by a friend I looked them up on the web was thrilled to find that they were local when its the only one of its kind to exist in Australia.

It was so nice to speak to people who knew exactly what I was talking about when I spoke about the difficulties I was having with my son.
Our children are suffering lifetime damage because of our ignorance.

They are not receiving the care or support that they so desperately need. These children are seen as naughty disruptive unintelligent trouble makers. My little boy is none of these but he is suffering trauma.

My experience with abuse has made me certain that Trauma training needs to be carried out across all departments interacting with children.

The  Heal for life camp should be a basic requirement for children who have suffered any form of abuse. The effects of abuse are long term and horrific for survivors and their families.   Treatment for this illness should be made available to everyone not just the wealthy.

I was extremely lucky to have  my little boy sponsored by a company called the Steadfast Foundation who I cannot thank enough for their generous support.

Having attended the healing camp has meant my little boy was able to glean that triggers were controlling how he was behaving. Now when he is prompted to think about his feelings he can now pinpoint what had set him off.  This may not seem like a big step but to be able to sit down and talk about the reasons for these outbursts is bringing what was a uncontrollable emotional time bomb of a child back to some sort of normality. He also now knows that none of what has happened was his fault, and ways of dealing with his angry outbursts including the need for having his own space to calm himself down. With ongoing support and funding for Heal For Life he will be able to continue his healing with a further week.  Healing is a long process and cannot be done overnight yes it is a costly exercise,  but the cost… when nothing is done…. is huge.

The 10 hours per year of counseling available through  medicare does not even begin to help or allow any sort of relationship with the counselor.

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