Therapeutic Services

At CPS we understand that the trauma of sexual abuse has enormous impacts on children, young people and their families and carers and we know that without specialist intervention the impacts of this devastating experience can be long-lasting.

In recognition of the devastating effects of sexual abuse trauma, CPS Therapeutic Services provides a specialist therapeutic program for children, young people and their families/carers. CPS Therapeutic Services works with;

  • Children and young people under 18 years of age who have been sexually abused;
  • Children under the age of 10 who have displayed problematic sexualised behaviours;
  • Young people between 10 and 17 who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviours.
In 2015-16 CPS Therapeutic Services provided over 6000 service hours to 239 clients (families).

The CPS Therapeutic team utilises a whole-of-family approach. The participation of family members and carers in the therapeutic work is vital to the healing of the child or young person. The team’s approach also acknowledges the devastating impact that sexual abuse can have on families and those that care for the child or young person by ensuring that they too receive support.

The CPS Therapeutic Services team are experienced and well qualified. They use a range of therapeutic tools, mediums and interventions including play, puppets, painting, drawing, sand tray and other techniques depending on the child’s age and stage of development.

CPS Therapeutic Services also provides specialist training and support to organisations who may be working with children and young people who have been harmed by the trauma of sexual abuse or who may be exhibiting problematic sexualised behaviour. This includes childcare services and schools who may require help to understand and manage the behaviour of children who use their services. Supporting the work of others who work with children and young people is also extremely important to us.

SACPP info sessions 2017

Therapeutic Services brochure


Mary is 17 years old.  It is her last counselling session after a long three year journey.


“I’ll miss you” she says to her counsellor.


Three years, three words. Broken family ties, courts and police, rebuilding family ties. Belief.  A wider world with meaning, where before there was bewilderment.


This is one of many stories that lay hidden behind the statistics.  However, amidst the excitement of innovation and striving for continual improvement, Mary’s comment keeps the Therapeutic Services team grounded. Counselling is a relationship built on trust and holding open a door of hope.



Children and Mother’s in Mind

Mother boyFunded by the Victorian State Government as one of 26 family violence early intervention pilots across the state, Children and Mother’s in Mind (CMiM) is an Australian first program for mothers and children (four years and under) who have experienced family violence and no longer live with the perpetrator.

CMiM recognizes that women who have experienced family violence often lose confidence in their ability to parent effectively, particularly if their parenting is or has been undermined or criticized by an abusive partner, leading to isolation and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Incorporating practice elements originating from Canada, this 22-week evidence informed program will be available at five trial sites across Victoria and be jointly delivered by Children’s Protection Society, Anglicare Victoria, Caroline Chisholm Society, Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault/Minerva, Merri Outreach Support Services, McAuley Community Support for Women, Vincent Care and Quantum Support Services.

CMiM takes a “two generations” approach and focuses on both the mother and child(ren). Clinicians will adopt a gendered method to working with clients, fostering mother/infant bonding based on relational trauma and attachment theory. The underlying case work component throughout the program, in addition to therapeutic work, distinguishes CMiM from a mere counselling or case work model of intervention.

Children and Mother’s in Mind will specifically:

  • support mothers and young children early to overcome the impact of trauma due to family violence and improve developmental outcomes for children;
  • increase parenting competency using a combination of psycho-educational and behavioural approaches;
  • support improvement of mother-child bond in order to repair and rebuild the mother-child relationship;
  • create an opportunity to decrease mother and child isolation for those families who feel out of place in traditional parenting support programs;
  • provide strategies to support the mother with her parenting of her very young child, and ultimately ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the child.

It is anticipated more information about contact details and access pathways will be available by the end of June.

Children & Mothers in Mind brochure

For children who have been sexually abused

At CPS we give children and young people who have been affected by sexual abuse an opportunity to share their experience and express their feelings in a safe environment.

Research shows that children who are listened to and believed following their disclosure, and who are supported through a specialist therapeutic approach are more likely to heal from their abusive experiences. Research also suggests that children and young people find the therapeutic process helpful.

Therapeutic Services at CPS aim to:

  • Reduce the impact of sexual abuse
  • Provide information and education about sexual abuse
  • Develop strategies of personal safety and protective behaviour in children and young people, and
  • Empower children and families to help regain a sense of control in their lives as they recover from the impact of sexual abuse.

For children who have displayed problematic sexualised behaviours

Children who have displayed problematic sexualised behaviours often require support and the opportunity to explore where their behaviours have come from, including feelings and triggers which may influence these behaviours, feelings they may have about themselves and how they can change these behaviours.

For young people who have caused sexual harm

At CPS we support young people to take responsibility for their actions, empathise with their victims, and learn strategies to change and control their behaviour.  Our experience tells us that it is helpful for a young person to be given the opportunity to identify and understand their thoughts, feelings and actions.  This enables them to modify behaviours that may have previously placed them and others at risk.

Research tells us that without specialist intervention it can be difficult for young people who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviours to change.  Indeed, a young person may be more likely to re-engage in sexually abusive behaviours if they have not received therapeutic support as they may not have the internal resources and supports that can assist them in not repeating these harmful behaviours.

Many adult offenders report that their offending began during adolescence.  Research supports the idea that early intervention is highly successful in stopping young people from sexually offending in adulthood.

Purpose and benefits of counselling

Read more about the purpose and benefits of counselling by downloading the following;

Info Sheet for Parents and Caregivers of Children and Young People Who’ve Been Sexually Abused  

Info Sheet for Parents and Caregivers of Children who have displayed Problematic Sexualised Behaviours

Info Sheet for Parents and Caregivers of Young People with Sexually Abusive Behaviours


All counselling through the Therapeutic Services program is provided at no cost to families. To speak to someone about this program, please call 03 9450 0900 or email

Girls Group

Girls GroupGirls Group is a new program that aims to strengthen social skills, self-confidence, developing a sense of identity and connecting with other victims of sexual abuse to form new friendships.

Supporting preteen girls (aged 10-12), Girls Group also aims to assist the girls as they transition from primary to secondary school and provide them with additional therapeutic support to their individual counselling.    

Weekly activities in the inaugural Girls Group have included arts & crafts, dance therapy, yoga, puppetry, expressing emotions using music and movement and a fun excursion.

Another Girls Group will be conducted next year from a date yet to be determined.  Please contact the Therapeutic Services Intake Worker on 9450 0900 or for expressions of interest.

To be eligible, girls need to reside within the following districts;

  • Banyule
  • Yarra
  • Darebin
  • Whittlesea City Council’s
  • The Shire of Nillumbik.