Assisting adult survivors of church sexual abuse

Trauma (especially trauma experienced in childhood) can impact a person into adulthood, often leaving feelings of disconnection, heightened anxiety and depression or anger.


In 2013 Fr Kevin Dillon, established Lifeboat Geelong to provide pastoral support to victims of church related sexual abuse by addressing several areas of need, including, but by no means restricted to some financial support for those many victims who are genuinely struggling to make ends meet.

Lifeboat Geelong’s program aims to provide assistance to survivors by:

  • Offering support and practical help using volunteers.
  • Making referrals to appropriate professionals.
  • Advocating on behalf of adult survivors of church related sexual abuse.

Dave* was confronted by unexpected challenges in 2020. Due to COVID-19, he lost his casual work as a truck driver and was forced to rely on unemployment benefits alone, which barely covered his rent.  Lifeboat Geelong was able to support him by paying some of his bills and providing him with supermarket vouchers.  His casual work not only gave him extra income, but it also provided him with significant social support.  Dave began walking regularly with a Lifeboat Geelong staff member, and he reported it made him feel better.

Unfortunately, Dave was the victim of a home invasion, which precipitated a mental health crisis.  Besides funding his psychology treatment, Lifeboat Geelong assisted him to find new accommodation in a safer area.

Dave is back doing occasional casual work, and still walks regularly.  He is keen to start walking with another survivor to support each other through their journeys.  He says that without the support of Lifeboat he would have been homeless.

Thanks to your generous donations, Lifeboat Geelong received a grant of $30,000 that has assisted in building the resilience of those impacted by institutional child sexual abuse by supporting their basic needs and introducing activities designed to improve their health.  To date the support from the Give Where You Live Foundation has enabled Lifeboat to support 20 survivors across the Geelong region.

* Dave is not his real name