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Supporting a family member, friend, colleague or even someone you don’t know so well, as they disclose their trauma, talk about it and seek help and support is a vital and often challenging role. It can also be life affirming.

Child abuse and trauma often leave a survivor struggling to just feel okay. Some have never felt okay. Others have never felt safe, emotionally or physically. Many feel bad and blame themselves. Many others are angry or distressed, and can be agitated and shut down at different times.

Some survivors struggle with seeking help, feeling safe and trusting enough. Many have contradictions between feelings and thoughts e.g.`I know it wasn’t my fault but I feel that it was’, Others have split loyalties e.g. positive and negative feelings towards perpetrator/s &/or family members. Many despair of ever getting beyond `the mess’.

Survivors are often labelled as ‘difficult’ or ‘attention seeking’. This is judgemental and unhelpful for all. Survivors have shown enormous strength, courage and resilience to have survived. What happened to them was wrong. The ways survivors cope and react make sense in the context of their trauma i.e. their reactions and apparently ‘challenging behaviours’ make sense given their experiences.

Coping strategies to deal with overwhelming stress are attempts to manage painful internal experience. It is normal to want to feel better. However coping mechanisms which may seem to offer immediate relief can also be risky. Recognising the purpose of coping strategies as attempts to `tolerate the intolerable’ can lessen the shame and self-blame survivors feel. That way alternative coping methods can be developed.

When you’re supporting a survivor it is important to seek as much information and support as you can for you, and for the person you’re supporting. Please see our Survivors and Supporters area for more resources. 

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Health Direct


Head to Health


“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.”


“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.”


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


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Phone: 1300 657 380
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