A NSW Government website

Violence, Abuse and Neglect

Sexual Assault Service

Sexual Assault is a crime. It includes any action in which someone is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts.

Child sexual assault occurs when an adult or someone bigger than a child uses their power or authority over the child and takes advantage of the child's trust and respect to involve the child in sexual activity.

Sexual assault is an attack on a person's body, senses, emotions and whole of self. Its effects can be serious and long standing. They may include:
shock; fear; shame; guilt; disbelief; isolation; nightmares; depression; anxiety; loss of trust; feeling damaged; eating problems; relationship difficulties; parenting concerns.

Sexual assault services do not offer counselling to offenders of sexual assault and uphold the belief that the offender is totally responsible for the abuse.

About the Sexual Assault Service

The Sexual Assault Service is a free confidential service.

Sexual Assault Services are staffed by female Social Workers and Clinical Psychologists who are specialised in working with children and adults who have been sexually abused. To ensure cultural appropriateness an Aboriginal Social Worker is employed with the service. The staff specialist paediatrician and psychiatrist are available for consultation.

Sexual Assault Services give priority to children and adults who have recently been sexually assaulted as well as offering a service to adults who experienced childhood sexual abuse.

Reporting a sexual assault

If you are under 16 years of age and have been sexually assaulted, reports need to be made to the Child Protection Helpline prior to attending Lower Hunter Sexual Assault Service for counselling. This report will be reviewed by the JRU and they will make the decision in regard to sending the report through to Joint Investigation Rresponse Team (JIRT) for investigation. JIRT will follow-up with the sexual assault service if a referral needs to be sent.

You do not need to have reported the sexual assault to the Police to receive support from a NSW Health Sexual Assault Service if you are over 16 years of age

What services are provided?

  • Crises counselling following an assault
  • Medical examination within 7 days of an assault including forensic examination to assist the criminal proceedings
  • Ongoing counselling after an assault
  • Support and information for non offending family members and partners
  • Information about reporting to police; the legal process and child protection agencies
  • Ongoing therapy for adults who have experienced sexual assault as children
  • Court information and support
  • Community education
  • Professional consultation

Is a referral required?

It is preferable the client refer themselves however any member of the community can make a referral by telephoning the intake counsellor during business hours. The caller will be asked some questions to determine the client's needs.

A 24 hour after hours crises service is available for anyone assaulted within the prior 7 days.

Location and contact details 

Newcastle: Harker Building
Longworth Ave, Wallsend 2287   
(02)49 246333

Lower Hunter: Community Health Centre
58 Stronach Ave, East Maitland 2323  
(02)49 312000

Upper Hunter: Community Health Centre
Cnr Brentwood and Brecht St, Muswellbrook 2333
(02)65 422050

After Hours Crises Number (02)49 213888
For people from 65 area code: 1800 642 357

PANOC (Physical Abuse and Neglect of Children) Service

This service provides counselling and support to children and families where physical and / or emotional abuse and / or neglect has occurred, and where Community Services and / or Joint Child Protection Response Team (JCPR) have assessed a child or young person at risk of harm.

The PANOC Service provides individual counselling and casework, therapeutic or educational groups, family work, advocacy, and where relevant, Court preparation and support for children and their family.  The aim is to assist parents and carers to provide a family environment that is safe and nurturing for children and young people.

Is a referral required?

Referrals to PANOC are made by Community Services, Joint Child Protection Response Team (JCPR) or Children's Court only.

Location and contact details

Wallsend: 1st Floor, Harker Building - Wallsend Hospital Campus, Longworth Avenue
Postal:  PO Box 1014, Wallsend NSW 2287
Ph: (02)49 246294

Sparks Program

This team works in conjunction with the Child Development Team and is the lead program for Safe Wayz in Hunter New England.

The following clinical services are provided:

  • Assessment with caregivers, other organisations and services such as schools.
  • Development of a treatment plan with the family.
  • Professional supervision and training
  • Community education
  • Liaison with agencies and community services

Do I need a referral and how do I make an appointment?

Referrals are accepted from health, welfare and education workers. Parents/carers/kin are also able to refer children in their care to the service.

Referral forms can be obtained by contacting the Child Development Team on 49246400 or 49246190.

Referrals are accepted from health, welfare and Educations workers. Parents/carers/kin are also able to refer children in their care to the service.

Use SeNT eReferral to send referrals to HNELHD.  If your GP management system does not support SeNT, you may FAX referral.

Location and contact details


Harker Building - Longworth Ave; Wallsend 2287  
Ph:  (02)49 246400 or (02)49 246190
Fax:   4924 6401
Hours:  Monday to Friday 9:00 to 4:30pm
Postal:  Locked Bag 1014, Wallsend NSW  2287

Out of Home Care Clinic

The Out of Home Care Clinic provides comprehensive health assessments for children entering out of home care.  The clinic targets children who have recently entered out-of-home care in order to detect and treat any health problems as early as possible.

The screening is carried out by a Paediatrician, Paediatric Nurse and Psychologist who have developed strong links to Dental and Speech Pathology Services to facilitate referrals as required.

The clinic does not provide ongoing medical care.

Is a referral required?

The Out of Home Care Clinic only accepts referrals from Newcastle Community Services offices (Charlestown, Mayfield and Edgeworth). They are required to complete the specific referral form for the clinic. If the referral is accepted, an appointment time is sent to the caseworker and the carers.

A GP referral is also requested, but children will still be seen if this cannot be obtained.

Referral criteria include:

  • The child is aged 0-12 and has recently been placed in out-of-home care.
  • The child does not have a regular Paediatrician nor have they had a Paediatric medical assessment in the previous twelve months.
  • The child must be under the parental responsibility of the minister
  • The child is not in kinship care (occasional referrals may be considered after negotiation).

Location and contact details

Wallsend: 1st Floor, Harker Building, Wallsend Hospital Campus, Longworth Avenue
Postal:  PO Box 1014, Wallsend NSW 2287
Ph:  (02)49 246294