SeMPRO provides victim-focused care to Defence personnel who have been affected by an incident of sexual misconduct. SeMPRO will operate in a trauma-informed manner to deliver best-practice support to those affected by sexual misconduct, as well as those who are supporting them.
A working description of the term 'Sexual Misconduct' has been developed to guide SeMPRO operations. Sexual Misconduct includes sexual offences1 and serious incidents of a sexual nature2 which can cause trauma3, including:
A trauma -informed service creates a place of safety for those who have been sexually assaulted; responding on every level with an understanding of the effects of trauma and recognising the potential for the existence of trauma. Sexual assault has the capacity to place the victim suddenly in a world which is terrifying and in which they no longer have the ability or the capacity to control their emotions and/or psychological state. In the context of Defence, if the offender is a colleague, the very people who form part of their 'family', their unit, has assaulted them, left them unsafe and undermined their belief and values system.
A trauma-informed service differs from traditional approaches to health and human service delivery whereby support is organised around the prevalence of trauma throughout society (particularly as complex trauma is not necessarily apparent from diagnoses and client presentations). For SeMPRO, the assumption is that the existence of trauma is highly likely in those men and women who contact SeMPRO for support and access to services. Services which are 'trauma-informed' are aware of and sensitive to the dynamics of trauma, as distinct from directly treating trauma per se. Trauma-informed services recognise the possibility of the existence of trauma in the lives of all clients/consumers, irrespective of whether it is known to exist in individual cases.
The five key principles of trauma-informed care are: safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment.