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    What helps and what hinders healing after child sexual abuse? Perspectives of those with lived experience 

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    Event description

    The National Centre is committed to amplifying the voices of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and ensuring their knowledge is at the core of all of its activities.   

    This special episode of In Conversation has been designed by the National Centre’s Survivor-led Adult College, discussing themes that they want service providers, researchers, policy makers and the community at large to think more about.  

    Moderated by National Centre CEO Dr Leanne Beagley, this webinar will explore: 

    • Triggers – how they can present and what effects they can have. 
    • Over-pathologising survivors and expecting a linear “recovery”. 
    • Creative therapies and practices for healing. 
    • The value of empathy and safety.

    This webinar is part of a concentrated effort by the National Centre to support the translation of knowledge and improve responses for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.  

    Time: 12pm-1.30pm AEST

    Where: Online 

    Please note this webinar will be recorded.

    Featuring a live Q&A session with the speakers, all are welcome.


    Craig Mahoney, Member of the National Centre Survivor-led Adult College. Craig is a survivor of institutional child sexual abuse who lives managing multiple mental and physical health complexities every day. He is a self-described hybrid artist / mad scientist with a corporate background in technology, communications and renewable energy, but broader interests in science, philosophy, art and nature. Craig is a child of deaf parents and has been a consistent advocate for LGBTIQA+ rights, environmental causes and union movements throughout his life. In recent years, he has found therapeutic value in meditation as well as creative endeavors such as painting and making bespoke electronic devices, sculptures and home furnishings using e-waste, recycled plastics, resin and 3D printing. Foundationally, Craig believes in fairness, equality and the rights of all people to have access to a decent life. 


    Caitlin Marshall, Makeshift Creative Health Agency. Caitlin does not identify as a person with lived experience of child sexual abuse, however has been invited to contribute by a member of the Adult Survivor-led College. She is a social worker, facilitator and co-founder of MakeShift, a support and education agency that connects creativity and mental health, for social change. Together with her co-founder Lizzie Rose, she has devised a methodology of Creative First Aid and delivered this in trauma recovery programs, communities and with people one-on-one.

    Caitlin is the co-author of Creative First Aid: The Science + Joy of Creativity for Mental Health. She is also a trainer for Full Stop Australia, a prevention, education and support organisation working to end sexual and gender-based violence, and specialises in vicarious trauma management, and ethical bystander intervention skills. Caitlin provides and leads reflective practice supervision for social workers and practitioners with a focus on vicarious trauma management and is engaged as a consultant to deliver violence prevention training and education to a range of organisations and sectors. She lives and works on Dharawal Country, in the Illawarra, and acknowledges the unceded lands we call Australia as the rightful lands of First Nations Australians.

    Craig Hughes-Cashmore, SAMSN Survivors and Mates Support Network. Craig is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and one of SAMSN's co-founders. He was appointed as a Community Member on the Victims Advisory Board by the Attorney General of NSW and sits on the NSW Sentencing Council. Craig is also a member of Suicide Prevention Australia’s Lived Experience Panel, the National Memorial Advisory Group (Commonwealth Govt), the Expert Advisory Group for the Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect (NSW Health) and a member of Transforming Justice Australia’s Expert Advisory Panel. Craig is also the inaugural Chair of the Australian Centre for Child Protection’s Lived Experience Advisory Panel. 

    Previously, Craig has been a board member of Knowmore Legal Service and was appointed to the Prime Minister's Reference Group for the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (delivered October 2018). Craig has also been a member of the NSW Sexual Assault Expert Group (NSW Health), the Safeguarding Council (Diocese of Parramatta), and the Survivor & Faith Group Child Safe Standing Committee (NSW Ombudsman). 

    Lyn MacLeod, Member of the National Centre Survivor-led Adult College. Lyn is proud to be a member of the National Centre Survivor-led Adult College, with living experience. In 2022, she made a report to the British Police for the historical child-on-child sexual abuse she was subjected to by an immediate family member. Sadly, due to changes in legislation from when the abuse occurred, no charges were able to be laid.  Lyn has also experienced intimate partner violence in multiple relationships and understands the impact of this, not just on her, but on her two children also.

    As a registered nurse, Lyn has worked across the British and Australian health systems delivering critical care, grief and loss support, end of life care and, most recently, mental health and AOD care to some of the most vulnerable and stigmatised members of the Victorian community. She is passionate about making a difference to the lives of those who are unable to have their fundamental basic rights and needs met, which includes the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. 

    Panda Cheong, Member of the National Centre Survivor-led Adult College. Panda (they/them) identifies as a peer practitioner. This is their coming out as a psychologist who has experienced child sexual abuse. Bye bye shame! Panda would like to introduce themselves outside of productivity: They value care, authenticity, and mutuality. They like the taoist principal of teaching through being. They believe the medicine trauma needs is connection. Right now they are connecting through nature, drawing, dance, music, parts and peers. 

    Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation, Chair of National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse. Cathy is a medical practitioner, President of Blue Knot Foundation and has a lived experience of complex trauma. She has been a driving force within Blue Knot, previously ASCA, for over two decades and has held a number of board and key representative roles within the mental health and related sectors. Cathy is co-author of a range of seminal Blue Knot publications and guidelines, a prominent voice in the media and at conferences, and a national advocate for trauma-informed transformational changes and informed responsiveness to people experiencing the impacts of complex trauma.


    Dr Leanne Beagley is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse. She has clinical, leadership and legal qualifications and 15 years of clinical experience in child and family mental health services, with subsequent experience as a senior leader within health, mental health and primary care settings. She has undertaken policy leadership within government and policy advocacy from within the sector.

    About the In Conversation series

    Hosted by the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (the National Centre), our In Conversation series brings together experts from research, law, policy and practice to explore how we can work together to reduce, eliminate and respond to child sexual abuse so that victims and survivors are believed and supported to heal and recover.

    About the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse

    The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (the National Centre) is a partnership between three respected organisations — the Australian Childhood Foundation, Blue Knot Foundation and the Healing Foundation. Established in late 2021, following a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the National Centre commissions critical research, builds the capability of workers and organisations and raises community awareness to reduce stigma. Central to this work is elevating the voices of victims and survivors of all ages, life stages and communities

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