If you have experienced childhood trauma, you can speak with a Blue Knot Helpline trauma counsellor including for support and applications around national redress

1300 657 380
Monday - Sunday
between 9am - 5pm AEDT
or via email helpline@blueknot.org.au

 

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Blue Knot Foundation Blog

Check out our recent blog posts to stay up to date with our work, latest research and articles curated by the Blue Knot Foundation Marketing & Communications team. Should you have any suggestions or contributions please contact us via email: marketing@blueknot.org.au.

Articles

Entries for May 2019

23

Tarja Malone, the national helpline manager for the Blue Knot Foundation, says people there is no shame in seeking help for vicarious trauma.

Anyone whose job revolves around caring for others is at risk of vicarious trauma and, as the drought drags on, a
free workshop has been organised to help the regional helpers.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District has helped to organise a series of free workshops in a bid to help rural
workers who are supporting others experiencing drought-related distress and trauma. Many of these workers
could need additional help for their own wellbeing, as they many not have mental health training.

The Wagga workshop will be held on Monday, May 27, presented by the Blue Knot Foundation.

Tarja Malone, the national helpline manager for the foundation, said anyone whose role was to support other
people was at risk of being affected by vicarious trauma.

She said social workers, emergency personnel and health workers were among those who might be affected.
"Oftentimes we don't believe how hearing stories can have an impact," Ms Malone said.

"It's not a sign of weakness to need help. If we are working in the trauma space, it is important not to ignore it.
"A worker who isn't managing their own vicarious trauma may not be able to help others effectively."

Ms Malone said the affects of vicarious trauma varied between individuals and could have an impact that varied
from low to high.

For people concerned that they themselves, or someone they care about, is being affected by vicarious trauma, Ms
Malone said there were some things to look out for.

"There might be changes in relationships - people might be behaving differently in relationships with family,
friends and colleagues," she said.

A worker who isn't managing their own vicarious trauma may not be able to help others effectively.
Tarja Malone, Blue Knott Foundation

"Someone with VT might be avoiding certain conversations or certain people or there might be a change in
someone's belief system or world views.

"Their thoughts might change and there might be changes in their body and brain function they might be edgy,
they might develop depression,

"There might may be sleeping problems, alcohol and drug use, avoiding people, places or situations."
For more details on the workshops, contact Larah

You can read the full article here.


[Read the rest of this article...]

01

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, a month in which we focus on the needs of victims of sexual violence of all ages. While all sexual violence is abhorrent and often profoundly damaging this article speaks to the needs of adults who were sexually abused as children.

Just over a year ago, after five years of operation, our nation’s ground-breaking Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse closed its doors. It lifted the lid on the scourge of child sexual abuse within our churches, charities, schools and sporting bodies. And its recommendations mapped out a plan for systemic change within our institutions many of which are currently being enacted. The Commission conducted a forensic examination of the systemic failures which allowed and enabled the protection of perpetrators, institutions and hierarchical cover-ups.

In addition, it also provided a platform to give survivors a voice – a voice long denied, dismissed and minimised. A voice which showed us as a community, just how damaging the crime of sexual abuse perpetrated by people in positions of power, trust and care often is, over time. It also showed us the importance of listening, hearing and believing, what was often seemingly ‘unbelievable’.

More than 4,000 survivors from 1,691 religious institutions revealed that they were sexually abused as children to the Royal Commission. These crimes were perpetrated by priests, ministers, teachers, youth leaders and others. Many children suffered under the care of religious leaders and institutions, whose responses to discovering this abuse, were painfully inadequate.

However, the terms of reference of the Commission, although broad in Commission terms, were narrow for the tens of thousands of Australian survivors who missed out. These are people who were sexually abused within the apparently sacrosanct haven of the home and family. Just as institutional child sexual abuse was, and in some cases still is, treated with secrecy, stigma and cover-up, the home and family has traditionally been seen as a private space – what goes on behind closed doors stays behind them and what happens within the family is family business.

But this needs to change. And it needs to change now. That’s because the vast majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated within those sacred walls. And the damage reaped is often monumental not just for individuals and their families but for the very fabric of our society.

Children depend on their caregivers for their very survival. For this reason, they need to attach and bond to them, even when they are being abused by them. And many abused children remain loyal to their abusing caregivers for the same reason. Emotionally and physically dependent children whose brains are still developing at the time they are abused are unable to process the enormity of the betrayal of being sexually abused by a family member. This can leave the child feeling confused and unsafe, and unable to focus on learning and exploring to meet their developmental needs. This is because they are preoccupied with trying to be and feel safe in their inherently unsafe world. Additionally, within a family setting, a perpetrator often has ready access to a child. No-one asks questions; no-one sees. This leaves the child particularly vulnerable as they are trapped and can’t escape. The prevailing power imbalance of the abusing parent, caregiver or other family member over a child means the child feels helpless and powerless, living in fear, awaiting the next assault.

Child sexual abuse is a betrayal of trust and an abuse of power. The perpetrator often tricks the child into believing that the abuse is an act of love, and that they are responsible. But a child is never to blame for being sexually abused. Often threats, fear and manipulation are used to maintain the child’s silence, protect their secrecy and keep the child a victim. Within the family, a child can fear that speaking out will break the family up or cause another member to be harmed, if that is what their perpetrator has led them to believe.

Child sexual abuse doesn’t only impact the victim. It decimates families, polarising them into those who believe the victim and support them, and those who don’t. Or those who are trying to preserve the external image of the family and its place within the community, despite the crimes being committed within.

The Royal Commission showed us the importance of being listened to, heard, validated and believed. It is time for us as a society and a community to listen to survivors of child sexual abuse within the family. We must embrace them so they know and believe that they are not to blame. We must help erode the shame they often feel and to reach out and show them that they are not alone. There is hope and there is help and we must show survivors that with the right support, they can find a path to healing. 

The orignal article written by Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM was published here



 

[Read the rest of this article...]

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Testimonials

“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

“I think Blue Knot Foundation is a fantastic support organisation for people who have experienced childhood trauma/abuse, for their families/close friends and for professionals who would like to learn how to more effectively work with these people.”

Psychologist Melbourne

“It's such a beautiful thing that you are doing. Helping people to get through this.”

ANONYMOUS

“It was only last September when I discovered the Blue Knot Foundation website and I will never forget the feeling of support and empathy that I received when I finally made the first phone call to Blue Knot Helpline, which was also the first time I had ever spoken about my abuse.”

STEVEN

"At last there is some sound education and empathetic support for individuals and partners impacted by such gross boundary violations.”

TAMARA

Contact Us

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Email: admin@blueknot.org.au
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
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Email: helpline@blueknot.org.au 
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For media comment, please contact:
Dr Cathy Kezelman
+61 425 812 197
+61 2 8920 3611
or ckezelman@blueknot.org.au


For media enquiries, please contact: 
Julia Macerola
+61 422 337 332
or julia@fiftyacres.com