New trauma guide to support people with disability

Tags Accessibility Mental Health

Posted 1 month ago by Rebecca St Clair

"Complex trauma impacts so many people living with disability, directly or indirectly," says Dr Kezelman.
"Complex trauma impacts so many people living with disability, directly or indirectly," says Dr Kezelman.

The Federal Government is backing the development of a new guide to better support people with disability who have experienced complex trauma. 

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, says that the $267,760 investment means Australia will lead the way in supporting people with disability who have past or present experiences of violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation.

“The Morrison Government will fund Blue Knot Foundation to guide organisations and practitioners on how to better understand complex trauma and deliver trauma-informed care to the disability community," explains Minister Ruston. 

“This work forms part of Blue Knot’s role in delivering Government-funded counselling support and referral services for people with disability engaging with the Disability Royal Commission through the National Counselling and Referral Service.”

The National Counselling and Referral Service provides free specialist counselling support as well as a referral service for people with disability, their families and carers, advocates, service providers and sector workers. 

They are also providing trauma specialists to support people with disability who are engaging with, or who are affected by, the Disability Royal Commission. 

Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation, Australia’s National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, says positive experiences with support workers, carers and advocates for people with disability was fundamental to minimising additional trauma and fostering trauma recovery and healing.

“People have become much more aware of repeated trauma over the last 20 years. Complex trauma impacts so many people living with disability, directly or indirectly," says Dr Kezelman.

“Being trauma-informed is about supporting people to feel and be safe in their interactions with services.

“I am pleased Blue Knot Foundation has the opportunity to develop a trauma-informed guide for people supporting, caring and advocating for people with disability who have experiences of trauma and other complex needs.

“We are particularly looking forward to consulting with diverse representatives from the disability sector to inform the guide.”

The final guide is expected to be available by June 2021. Blue Knot Foundation has previously published the Practice Guidelines for Clinical Treatment of Complex Trauma.

If people need support now and have experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, or are thinking about taking part in the Disability Royal Commission, they can contact the National Counselling and Referral Service run by Blue Knot Foundation.

You can call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 469, 9am - 6pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) Monday - Friday or 9am - 5pm AEST Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. 

People who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can contact the service through the National Relay Service (NRS) on 13 36 77.