The Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) Forum 2024 – Event Information

The Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) within CRCC is hosting a free forum on June 7 2024 which provides an opportunity for professionals, survivors and the community to join in discussion on the impact of sexual violence on male survivors and pathways to healing.

Attendance is open to anyone over the age of 16 who would like to learn more about the nuances of this issue. Attendees are welcome to attend all or part of the forum, with lunch being provided from 1:30pm. 

The issue of sexual violence for male survivors, has not had as much attention as it deserves. We know that child sexual assault impacts 1 in 6 boys in Australia, and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted throughout their lifetime (ABS, 2023). We know that adult male survivours of child sexual abuse are overrepresented in all systems. The SAMSSA forum aims to reduce the isolation of this issue in the Canberra community by coming together and raising awareness. 

We have approached a number of expert speakers to form our panel for the day, including survivor and advocate Harrison James (Your Reference Ain’t Relevant Campaign), Allistair Jones (EveryMan), Tim Bavinton (former SHFPACT CEO and founding member of SAMSSA), Sue Webeck (Domestic Violence Crisis Service), Associate Professor Vanita Parekh (ANU College of Health and Medicine), and Dale Tolliday (New Street Services). 

The time allocated to each speaker is up to 20 minutes with open space for conversations and discussions following each panel session. A QR code will be available on the day for the audience to submit any anonymous questions that they might have during the sessions.

All event information, including our speakers’ bios and the RSVP link are available on this page, please scroll down. Please note, you do not have to attend the entire event, you are welcome to attend all or part of it!

Countdown to the SAMSSA Forum
Thank you for your interest in attending the SAMSSA 2024 forum!
Why Is This Topic Important?

Although women and non-binary people are more likely to experience sexual assault, it is common for men to experience it, too. The abuse of males is still underrepresented in research literature, statistics and programs pertinent to sexual abuse. Men’s experiences can differ from women’s, and the context and the effects of male sexual assault varies across children, adolescents and adults. The current social and political context influences the incidence, reporting and reactions of survivors, treatment options and ultimately community awareness of sexual assault of males.

Sexual assault against male individuals is much more common than people might think. 

1 in 6 men are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and according to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS) 2023, 1 in 16 men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime since the age of 15.

Common myths surrounding sexual abuse against males include views that downplay the impact of the abuse, particularly the psychological impacts.

Sexual abuse is immensely harmful for anyone who has experienced it, regardless of their gender. Some of the impacts that male survivors may experience include distorted perceptions of self, family disruption, feelings of insecurity, shame and guilt, mental health challenges, personality changes, drug and alcohol related concerns and many more trauma responses (ACSSA, 2006). 

Male survivors are also disproportionately more represented in care and correctional facilities. Many may find themselves
embedded in cyclical victimisation and continue to be abused, sexually or otherwise in key relationships throughout their lives. 

Community awareness of the issue minimizes the isolation, and helps us prevent and respond to sexual violence in an informed manner. 

Join us for a discussion on the various impacts of sexual abuse on survivors and pathways to healing, particularly focused on services and social awareness in the ACT community. 

Event Location: Yarramundi Cultural Centre
Accessibility Notes
  • The venue is wheelchair accessible. 
  • Auslan interpreters will be available throughout the event.
  • Free parking is available on-site.  
  • For further accessibility requirements please contact us on 02 6287 3618 or
Event Tickets

Free tickets are available through Humanitix. While entry is free for everyone, booking a ticket ensures we have the appropriate quantities of food and resources available on the day. Lunch will be provided to everyone attending, please include any dietary requirements when you RSVP.

SAMSSA Forum: Event Program

Speakers and Panel Members
Harrison James

Harrison James is a survivor, award-winning activist, and Co-Founder of the acclaimed ‘Your Reference Ain’t Relevant’ campaign. He also serves as the Media and Communications Officer for the Grace Tame Foundation. After he was sexually abused by his stepmother from the ages of 13 to 16, Harrison has become driven by his personal experiences and is dedicated to reforming Australia’s legal system for survivors. For years he carried the weight of this secret in silence but now, at 24 years old, his tireless activism fuels legislative reform and spotlights survivor-led initiatives, showcasing resilience and determination in pursuit of justice and healing. His extraordinary journey has been a beacon of hope for countless individuals and his unwavering commitment inspires a safer world for all.

Dale Tolliday OAM

Dale Tolliday OAM is NSW Health Senior Clinical Advisor Sexual and Violent Behaviour and Senior Clinical Advisor Children and Young People’s Sexual Safety Program (CYPSS) at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Australia. CYPSS incorporates ‘New Street Services’ and the ‘SafeWayz Program’ which are state-wide services in NSW for children and young people aged 0-18 years who have displayed problematic or harmful sexual behaviours. Dale is an Honorary Professor of Practice with the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Wollongong. Dale’s work with people who have sexually harmed others spans over 35 years. Prior to this, Dale worked in a variety of child, adolescent and family mental health settings. Dale’s professional training is in Social Work and Law. In 2014 Dale was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in recognition of his work in this field. He has a particular interest in training and professional standards for people working with those who have sexually harmed children. Dale is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers and a founding member and past President of the Australia and New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse (ANZATSA). Dale also consults widely with individuals and organisations regarding prevention and responding to harmful sexual behaviour by children, adolescents and adults.

Alistair Jones

Alistair has worked as a caseworker, mediator, counsellor, family dispute resolution practitioner and manager in the community sector for over thirty years. During his tenure as Manager of Counselling Services at EveryMan, that service has developed a solid reputation for working with men presenting with complex issues. These men have often had tangential relationships with statutory bodies particularly the criminal justice system and child, youth, and protection services. Alistair maintains a clinical load at EveryMan and is working with both perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse.

Sue Webeck

Sue Webeck is the CEO of the Domestic Violence Crisis Service in the ACT, she is a LGBTIQA+ community advocate and has extensive experience as a respectful relationships and violence prevention educator. She has been working in the community sector and allied violence response and primary prevention spaces for over 20 years. Sue sits on a number of government advisory councils as well as volunteering on community boards hoping to support a robust service sector which can respond to the needs of our community. Sue is a deeply committed Canberran working in the pursuit of making our community safer and more respectful for all.

Tim Bavinton

Tim Bavinton is a proud Canberra local and has lived in the nation’s capital for his whole life. After a K-12 public education, he studied languages and history at the Australian National University before earning a teaching degree at the University of Canberra. He is a strong advocate for accessible education and lifelong learning for everyone. Tim has devoted his career to community work. He was involved in setting up youth health education programs and services in Canberra, including the Junction Youth Health Service. He later established the Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) at the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. For almost two decades, he worked as an educator, trainer, and advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights at Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT. Tim is now bringing his community experience and a strong vision for an inclusive Canberra as a candidate in the 2024 ACT Election in Ginninderra.

Clinical Associate Professor Vanita Parekh AM

Clinical Associate Professor Vanita Parekh is the retiring director of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Services. Vanita is a senior staff specialist in sexual health and forensic medicine based at the Canberra Hospital. Vanita was responsible for the development, implementation and ongoing provision of Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC) in 2001, Clinical Forensics ACT (CFACT) in 2006, and the Fitness to Drive Unit (FTDU) in 2014, respectively. Vanita and her team provide forensic and medical care to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, provisde forensic medical services to suspects and victims in criminal matters, medical care to those in police custody, attend at death scenes, and conduct medicolegal reporting including toxicology opinion in coronial, criminal and tribunal matters.

Following initiation and implementation, Vanita continues to provide clinical services at the ACT Fitness to Drive Unit. This clinic was established following Vanita’s attendance at several motor vehicle fatalities involving medically impaired drivers and assesses driver licence holders against the medical standards.

Vanita has provided expert evidence and training in relation to sexual assault, non-fatal strangulation, fitness to drive, and forensic toxicology.

Vanita has several research interests within the areas of sexual health and clinical forensic medicine. She holds a Clinical Associate Professor position at the Australian National University, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Canberra.

Vanita has been involved in the establishment of professional organisations including, inaugural president and incorporation of Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Clinicians Australia (FAMSACA) in 2004 and Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Clinical Forensic Medicine for the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia in 2014.

Vanita sits on a number of advisory committees covering sexual violence, medicinal cannabis, and road safety.

Vanita was awarded Member of the Order of Australia in 2018 for “Significant service to medicine as a specialist in the fields of sexual health and forensic medicine as an educator and clinician, and to professional organisations.”

Event Disclaimers

While all care will be taken to foster a supportive environment, some attendees may experience distress during the event. If this happens to you, please approach a CRCC staff member for assistance. CRCC staff will be wearing a CRCC/SAMSSA T-shirt and name tag.

The event will be live streamed on our social media accounts, with cameras positioned facing the panel members. There may be a photographer present at the event. All efforts will be taken to ensure only panel members and staff members are photographed. Please speak with a staff member beforehand if you have any concerns.

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National Support Services 


1800 RESPECT: National Domestic & Sexual Violence Support Service

Available 24/7     PH: 1800 737 732     WEB:


QLife: LGBTQIA+ peer support and referral 

Available 3pm – midnight every day     PH: 1800 184 527    WEB:


Rainbow Sexual, Domestic & Family Violence Helpline (Formerly LGBTIQ+ Violence Service)

Available 24/7     PH: 1800 497 212


MensLine Australia: 24/7 online counselling support for men

Available: 24/7     PH: 1300 78 99 78     WEB:


Kids Helpline 

Available 24/7     PH: 1800 55 1800     WEB:


13Yarn: Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support service

Available: 24/7     PH: 13 92 76     WEB:

State & Territory Support Services 


ACT: Canberra Rape Crisis Centre 

Available 7am – 11pm every day 

PH: (02) 6274 2525     WEB:


Queensland: Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline 

Available 7.30am – 11.30pm every day

PH: 1800 737 732     WEB: click here for more QLD services  


NSW: Statewide Sexual Violence Helpline 

Available 24/7   PH: 1800 424 017    WEB: click here for more NSW services 


Victoria: Sexual Assault Crisis Line 

Available 5pm weeknights through to 9am the next day and throughout weekends and public holidays     PH: 1800 806 292

WEB: click here for more VIC services 


Northern Territory: Sexual Assault Referral Centre – Darwin 

Available: 24/7     PH: 08 8922 6472     WEB: click here for more NT services

Western Australia: Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Available 24/7     PH: 1800 199 888     WEB: click here for more WA services 


Tasmania: Sexual Assault Support Service 

Available 24/7     PH: 1800 697 877     WEB: click here for more TAS services 


South Australia: Yarrow Place – Rape and Sexual Assault Service 

Available 24/7     PH: 1800 817 421     WEB: click here for more SA services 

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