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

 

Do you need support for the Disability Royal Commission?
Contact our National Counselling & Referral Service on

1800 421 468
9am - 6pm AEDT Mon- Fri
9am - 5pm AEDT Sat, Sun & public holidays


January 2020Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn

From the Editor

The past few months have been challenging for Australia and for many of us.  We’ve watched as our beautiful country has suffered devastating loss through bushfires, and we have opened our hearts to those communities that have been directly affected.  We have also seen the rise of Coronavirus, and further destruction through flash floods and drought.  These events can heighten our sense of danger, and for those of us who are already living on high alert from the impacts of prior trauma, we can feel overwhelmed and powerless.  Our lead article this month, focuses on how these catastrophic events can impact complex trauma survivors and how we need to adapt and develop coping strategies to get through. 

We also highlight our support service for people looking to engage or apply to the National Redress Scheme.  The redress application process can be a daunting, arduous and confronting experience.  At Blue Knot, we are there with you for the journey.  Our professional and caring counsellors are specifically trained to support and guide you through the process from start to finish.  If you are unsure or anxious about applying for the scheme, we really do encourage you to make the first step and call.  We are here to help.

Did you know that 37% of adults who have experienced at least 1 incidence of violence after the age of 15 have a disability, and close to half (46%) who have experienced abuse before the age of 15 have a disability?  These harrowing statistics help to illustrate the importance of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC).  Blue Knot has established the National Counselling and Referral Service (NCRS) specifically to provide counselling support and referrals for anyone affected by the DRC.  If you are affected, or know anyone that is, please speak to our specially trained counsellors.

If you have any comments about what you have read in this issue, contributions for the My Story section, or suggestions for future issues, please contact the editor at newsletter@blueknot.org.au

Warm regards
The Blue Knot Team


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Reader Contribution


Tears of Eve - Bruce Docker

*Trigger warning

I am Queensland’s Daniel Morcombe
And Melbourne’s Jill Meagher
I am NSW’s murdered backpackers
And Brisbane’s Sophie Collombett & Eunji Ban
I am NSW’s mid north coast’s William Tyrrell
And South Australia’s Beaumont children
I am Tasmania’s Ricky John Smith
And West Australia’s James Patrick Taylor
I am Canberra’s Megan Mulquiney & Tara Costigan
And Canada’s highway of tears
I am India’s Jyoti Singh Pandey
And Nigeria’s 200
I am Mexico’s missing student teachers
And the millions swept into slavery
I am sexual servitude in a war zone
And
I am stolen

 

 

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Survivor Workshops

This full-day educational workshop, informed by current research, provides a safe space for people who have experienced abuse or trauma in childhood, to learn more about abuse and other traumas and how trauma experiences can affect people, at the time of the trauma, and afterwards.

It will raise awareness about survivors’ strengths and resilience, the role of coping strategies, how the brain responds to stress, and, most importantly, research which shows that recovery is possible. 

There are still places available for Survivor Workshops in the following cities:

Launceston      14 March 2020 
Darwin 20 June 2020

Click here for more information and to book your seat.

Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide sessions are now full.  Please email training@blueknot.org.au if you would like to be added to the waitlist.


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NEW - Fact Sheet

Trauma Resolution and Healing


This newly released fact sheet explores how childhood trauma survivors are often very good at caring for others but can struggle in caring for themselves. Many don’t recognise their own strengths. 

Considering these strengths, the best person to drive restoration is each survivor.  Our service systems however make strong assumptions about what is best for survivors. Our role, in the system in which we work, may be better oriented to supporting survivors to work out what they really need, and then supporting their planning to achieve this. This is empowering, respectful and trauma-informed.  

Download the Fact Sheet here to learn more.


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IN THE NEWS

Trauma in Childhood: What you need to know

How trauma in our childhood affects adult life, and how to heal.  Complex trauma is different. It is the result of consistent, inescapable, sometime subtle aggression. It’s the trauma of youth. This is what a young child experiences when they are attacked, whether verbally, physically or psychologically by care-givers. Ridicule instead of adoration, violence instead of love, rejection instead of embrace. It's a form of trauma, and unlike adults, a child cannot escape. Years later, childhood trauma usually reappears with unfortunate consequences.  Read more




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Self Care of Survivors

"Self-care" means looking after yourself. It means treating yourself as person who deserves care.  Caring for yourself is often challenging for people who experienced child abuse or childhood trauma. That’s because you were harmed by another person. Sometimes it was done on purpose. Other times it happened because that person had their own issues which stopped them caring for you.  Read more


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In Syria, A School Helps Children Traumatized By War

"What we found is the children had been so traumatized, they couldn't even recognize numbers or letters," Holder continues. "So we had to work through that before we could start educating them again." Read more


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The Fourth Trauma Response we don’t talk about

Whether we realise it or not, most of us are familiar with three classic responses to fear — fight, flight and freeze.  But did you know there’s actually a fourth response? It’s called “fawn” and is a term coined by Pete Walker, a C-PTSD survivor and licensed marriage and family therapist who specialises in helping adults who were traumatised in childhood. Read more


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Disability Royal Commission: First Public Sitting, Brisbane

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability held its First Public Sitting on Monday 16 September in Brisbane, Queensland.  Watch more here

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Bushfires, trauma and support


The bushfires which continue to threaten our country have already left a path of destruction behind them. Lots of people are being subjected to ongoing distress, stress and trauma as a result. This is causing substantial grief and significant loss over a long period of time. At the same time, we have seen our community pull together and support one another, with stories of incredible courage and resilience.  And just as small shoots of green are sprouting of the blackened earth so too there is hope for healing and recovery, as well as good support available.

The fires and other catastrophic events including hailstorms, flash floods on a background of a protracted drought, the ongoing threat of further fires and now the Coronavirus pandemic have placed the whole country on high alert. Even if we haven’t been directly impacted, we have all been affected. Our sense of safety and security has been challenged individually and collectively. The media and social media keep us updated, but in updating us, also expose us to daily, and often hourly feelings, and in some cases, the reality of ongoing danger. 

Many of us are already living on high alert (and can be shut down at different times) from the impacts of prior trauma, often from childhood, although also as an adult. The current danger can leave us feeling powerless and helpless. This ongoing fear can bring back memories and feelings of our past trauma during which we had similar feelings. This can be a trigger for a range of trauma symptoms. It can be helpful to understand the broader context of what is happening in our communities and globally, and how this links with past traumatic experiences.  It helps to reflect on what is happening to us to make us feel this way, and also to know that there is information and support available.  


Research (neuroscience) helps us understand how stress affects our body and brain. When we are in danger or think we are, our body switches to automatic. Our thinking brain switches off and our stress response takes over. Our stress response is a survival response. It is part of our biology. It helps us survive danger. It is innate - biologically ‘built in’ and happens outside of our conscious awareness.

When responses are innate, we do not intend them. They simply ‘cannot be helped’. We survive in one of three main ways. We fight, we run away (flee) or we freeze (shut down). When we are in fight or flight, we become agitated (on high alert). We call this hyperarousal. When we freeze, we shut down, go numb or dissociate (i.e. we disconnect from our current experience – this is not conscious).  We call this hypoarousal. When the danger passes, our thinking brain turns back on. Our body becomes calm. We return to a resting state. In the resting state we can repair. This happens with everyday stress. 

Trauma it is different. For people with trauma histories, or when are in danger, (or think we are), the stress response stays turned on. Our body and brain are flooded with stress hormones e.g. adrenaline and cortisol.  When this happens, we stay in survival mode. It means that we can’t readily return to a calm state of repair. What’s more we can be triggered into this response – by cues in the environment. These can be sensory cues i.e. stimuli which activate one of our 5 senses – smell, touch, sight, hearing, taste or something which reminds us of prior trauma. Often the trigger is not obvious. In the current situation there are lots of triggers for many of us, including a felt sense of danger, threat and powerlessness. 

Sometimes when we are triggered, we experience sudden strong feelings or have a sense of disconnection, distance and difficulties being present in our lives.  Strong and sometimes sudden feelings of anger, fear, sadness and frustration are common. We can find it hard to manage or ‘regulate’ these feelings. This is often because we didn’t have an opportunity to learn how to manage them when we were a child. Usually co-regulation (a safe adult person helping a child manage their distress) occurs over time in a safe relationship with an adult caregiver and provides children with the tools to manage situations as they mature and develop. Those of us who did not have this opportunity might struggle with strong feelings. At other times we can experience flashbacks – a reliving of prior trauma with an intensity of feelings, sensations and movements from the past which can be overwhelming and disarming. If this is happening to you, it can help to understand the reasons for it and seek support.

Ongoing trauma is overwhelming. We need to adapt to survive. These adaptations are called coping strategies. Coping strategies form pathways in the brain. These become familiar. They become our ‘go to’ (default) responses during stress and more trauma. We develop coping strategies to help manage strong feelings and changes in arousal. People use different coping strategies to help reduce the pain and distress of their trauma response. Some survivors have learnt health promoting coping strategies as adults. These include a range of self-care activities, seeking professional support and acts of self-acceptance. Others might use coping strategies learnt earlier in life including alcohol and drug use, self-harm, anger, aggression, withdrawal and dissociation.  Some of these strategies can create further challenges in our lives. They are not challenging because we are trying to be difficult. We are just trying to keep ourselves safe in a dangerous world with the coping skills that we have learnt. 

If any of this is happening to you and you would like to speak with a trauma specialist counsellor, please call Blue Knot Helpline 1300 657 380 between 9-5 Mon-Sun ADST. Speaking to a counsellor can help you feel safe and supported and find ways of understanding what is happening as well as creating  pathways to ongoing support. Blue Knot is not a crisis service. If you need crisis support please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.  

The Life in Mind website has a comprehensive list of resources to support bushfire affected communities and the general public. It lists a range of crisis and support numbers as well as practical and emotional resources available for people who wish to seek support due to the impact of bushfires. This includes people who are in areas impacted by current bushfire activities and who need crisis support, as well as those who are seeking ongoing emotional support for themselves and their families.  Go to the website to find out more.

 

 


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Do You Need Support for the Disability Royal Commission?

In April 2019 the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Scott Morrison MP announced that a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability would be set up. The Commission was needed to help Australian governments, institutions and the community to know how to prevent, and better protect, people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The inquiry covers all forms of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability, in all settings and contexts.

The Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference cover what should be done to: 
prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation 
achieve best practice in reporting and investigating of, and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation 
promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. 

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report estimated that:
more than one-third (37%) of adults who have experienced at least 1 incident of violence after the age of 15 have disability
close to half (46%) who have experienced abuse before the age of 15 have disability.

The Disability Royal Commission will resume public hearings in February. It will release its first major report in October this year. The final report is expected to be released in April 2022. The next public hearings will be in western Sydney, looking at allegations people with cognitive disabilities are dying because of poor health care.

Click here to hear an interview on RN breakfast with  Ronald Sackville QC, chair, Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability ahead of this public hearing.

National Counselling and Referral Service (NCRS)

Blue Knot Foundation has established a specialist service to provide counselling support and referrals for people with disability, their families and carers, and anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission. 

Who the service is for:
people with disabilities who have experienced violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation anywhere
parents, guardians, other family members of a person with disability
carers of a person with a disability
advocates for people with a disability
service providers or agencies working with people with a disability
employers or colleagues of a person with disability

What the service provides:
professional short-term counselling and support
a gateway to frontline counselling services
warm transfers to and from the Royal Commission, advocacy and legal support services
information and referrals about other useful services
psychoeducation

What you can expect when you call the National Counselling and Referral Service:
Our counsellors are here to listen and support you
Everyone’s experience of trauma is different, and everyone has different needs
Our counsellors focus on your needs when you call
We try to answer each call when it rings and usually do. Sometimes we won’t be able to answer straight away and will need to put you on hold. When you are on hold, we will tell you where you are up to in the queue. If you have been in the queue for a while, you can ask us to call you back without losing your position in the queue. We won’t call you back unless you give us permission to do so

There are a number of different ways you can contact NCRS depending on your accessibility requirements, and the type of service you require.  

This service operates from: 
9am-6pm AEDT Mon-Fri and 
9am-5pm AEDT Sat, Sun and public holidays.

Telephone:  Contact 1800 421 468 or 02 6146 1468 to speak with one of our counsellors for short term counselling support and referrals.

Video Conference (VC): VC is available to clients who have specific restrictions around their ability to contact our counsellors via telephone.  Please connect with us first via email at ncrscounsellors@blueknot.org.au or by calling us yourself or with a support person on 1800 421 468 AEDT to discuss accessing this service. This service is only available for a single session with a focus on linking you with local and ongoing supports.

Webchat (WC): Webchat is available for clients who require support, information or referrals.  Webchat is found at the bottom right of the screen on this webpage.  It is not available for counselling support. Please refer to the Webchat Terms and Conditions for further information should you choose to use this service.

SMS: SMS is available to clients who require support, information or referrals.  SMS contact 0451 266 601. It is not available for counselling support. 

This is a separate service from the Blue Knot Helpline which provides counselling, support, information and for support around the National Redress Scheme

Accessibility 
If you find it difficult to hear or speak you can contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS). Please phone 133 677.

If you find if challenging to use the telephone, you can contact the National Counselling and Referral Service supporting the Disability Royal Commission using video conferencing.  To do so please connect with us first via email at ncrscounsellors@blueknot.org.au or by calling us yourself or with a support person on 1800 421 468 AEDT to discuss accessing this service.

If you require support in another language you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) free of charge by:
Calling the National Counselling and Referral Service and asking for an interpreter. The counsellor will make the arrangements, or
Calling TIS on 131 450 and asking to be connected to National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468


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Introducing Blue Knot Foundation’s Support Service for people engaging with or applying to National Redress Scheme.  

The National Redress Scheme (“the scheme”) was created as a response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Commission  estimated that around 60,000 people who experienced child sexual abuse in Australian institutions would apply to the scheme.  The Scheme started on the 1st of July 2018 and will run for 10 years.

Who is Blue Knot’s service for?
This service is open to any person who has experienced sexual abuse as a child (up to the age of 18) in any institution (eg. sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, schools, religious organisations, group homes, clubs etc).

We provide services via telephone or video conferencing to anyone living in any region in Australia. Video conferencing is also available to Australian citizens living abroad.

The Scheme provides an alternative to seeing compensation through the courts and if an application is successful is able to provide three things:

Access to counselling
A monetary payment, and
Direct personal response from the institution (eg. an apology) for people who want one.
 People can choose to apply to receive one, two or three of these things.

Recent data from the scheme has noted that people who apply with the support of a funded support service, are more likely to have a better result than people who complete the application independently.  This is because support services have trained personnel who receive additional training from the Scheme and legal services about the best ways to apply and support people during the process..

Blue Knot’s National Redress Scheme Support Service can provide information about the scheme, free and confidential support to anyone considering applying to the Scheme and support in filling out the application form, throughout the application process and support required after the receipt of an outcome.

At Blue Knot we know that many people applying to the Scheme have found the process challenging.  For this reason, we support people through the whole process. This spans from the first enquiry right through to receiving an outcome.  We are also able to link people in with  long terms supports if they want this.  Our trauma specialist approach focusses on the person and their needs. It is empowering and prioritises choice. Our response and support of each person is unique as each person is unique. This is a journey which we  take together.

If you are thinking of making an application or are already involved in the Redress process, there are seven main stages that you will transition through:

1. Checking your eligibility for the scheme
2. Referring you to other support, legal or financial planning services as needed and wanted
3. Assisting with your application
4. Supporting you through the application process. 
5. Supporting you when you receive a decision from the Independent Decision Maker
6. Supporting you when accepting/declining the offer
7. Assisting you to link  linking in with long term supports (if needed and wanted) 

At Blue Knot we know that these  stages can be retraumatising. We have a team of trauma specialist counsellors who are trained and experienced in providing you with the support you need.

For some people this includes assistance with writing their application. This also often includes support during the process. For others it is having the support you need while waiting for the decision and following up with and organising an apology, if that was part of your application.

The Blue Knot team is available to provide the support you need, every step of the way.

How to access this service:
If you want to discuss the different ways we can support you please call us on
1300 657 380 between 9-5 Mon-Sun AEDT for a confidential conversation

You can also connect with us via email at redress@blueknot.org.au



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Professional Trauma Training Calendar

Book your professional training for next year and lock-in early bird discounts


Gold Coast 12 Mar  Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (L2)
Launceston  13 Mar Intro to Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (L1)
Melbourne 16 Mar  Foundation for Trauma Informed Care and Practice (L1)
Adelaide 19 Mar Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (L2)
Sydney 20 Mar  Trauma-Informed Care and Practice: Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Melbourne 24 Mar Trauma-Informed Transgender and Gender Diverse Affirmative Care - Masterclass
Canberra 27 Mar Embedding Trauma-Informed Care and Practice for Managers
Perth 30 Mar  Trauma-Informed Care and Practice (L2)
Townsville 1 Apr Trauma-Informed Care and Practice (L2)
Sydney 2-3 Apr Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (L2)
Melbourne 17 Apr Trauma-Informed Care and Practice: Working with People with a Disability
Melbourne 22 Apr Introduction to Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (L1)
Melbourne 23-24 Apr Working Therapeutically with Complex Trauma Clients (L2)
Parramatta 29 Apr Trauma-Informed Care and Practice (L2)
Melbourne 30 Apr Embedding Trauma-Informed Care and Practice for Managers

Blue Knot's trauma training is informative, interactive and engaging, and is facilitated by experienced clincians and trauma trainers around Australia. Professionals may claim CPD hours/credits/points as a pre-approved or self directed learning activity.  Go here to learn more and book 


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Book recommendation


Trauma is Really Strange - by Steve Haines

“ Trauma Is Really Strange” by Steve Haines  is a unique comic that explains how trauma changes the way our brains work.  It is a clear and accessible explanation of how trauma confuses the brain and the impacts this has on our body.  It utilises latest neuroscience and trauma research, and draws on work from leaders in the area of complex trauma.  This is a complex topic area, but this small book goes a long way to describe this complexity in a clear accessible way using humour, comics and plain English.  It is easy to read, easy to understand, and also provides readers with some very helpful exercises that release tension and stress deeply embedded in our body's post traumatic experiences.  The book is a great resource for people who want to make sense of how their trauma impacts their body.  It can also be used by trauma practitioners as a great tool for helping survivors understand the mental and physical impact of trauma.

Disclaimer - Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.