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

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

From the Editor

Without a doubt, the year so far has been a real test of our strength and resilience, both as individuals and as a community.

The world as we know it has changed, and we are forced to change with it.  For some, social isolation is all too familiar, but has now been magnified. This way of life is now being experienced by the broader community, as well.  The community is now experiencing first-hand, the feelings and frustrations that isolation can foster.

As we are all now facing this challenge, the importance of self-care is paramount for us all - even for those who aren’t living with the backdrop of complex trauma.

Our lead article looks at ways that you can help yourself and others through this really challenging time.  How do you balance the need to stay informed, versus overdosing on media which can feed into our anxiety?

We have also developed some fact sheets related to Coronavirus and complex trauma, which contain some really useful information, and can be shared with your friends and family.  We are all in this together, and we all need to support each other during this really difficult time

The resilience and strengths we have shown already (even when we can’t see them), will help see us through to the other side of this challenge.  Caring for one another, caring for ourselves, and not being afraid to reach out for help if we are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, are all important.  We are here to support you. Our Helpline counsellors are all working and we will be able to provide you with support if and when the need arises.

Take care
From the team at Blue Knot

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

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Survivor and Supporter Workshops - Update

As we know things are changing each day and we are trying to make considered decisions throughout these uncertain times.

Because of the Coronavirus situation have decided to reschedule all future events up until the end of May. This will be reviewed as needed and may need to be postponed again. We will continue to update you over the coming months. 

Please see the Blue Knot website for any further information and our Helpline will still be active if you need to call and gain further support on the numbers below: 

Blue Knot Helpline 1300 657 380
(7 Days - 9am-5pm AEDT)

National Counselling and Referral Service 1800 431 468 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm AEDT, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm AEDT)

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Announcing New Fact Sheet

What is Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is trauma which is experienced under the age of 18. The impacts of childhood trauma are often more extreme and diverse than adult trauma. This is because a child’s brain is still developing. Children are also physically and psychologically dependent on adults, and they are in different stages of development to adults. This means that they process information about the world, other people, and themselves in a different way.  Blue Knot has developed a fact sheet which explains Childhood Trauma.

Download the Fact Sheet here to learn more.

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Survivor Contribution

Flitting shade-like, hugging the walls

Flitting shade-like,
hugging the walls
along the corridors of my mind
they come quite silently,
my devils, 
and silently they lay me waste.

Doubts come confidently,
arrogant in their sureness,
aware of the multitudes
that creep persistently 
behind them.

Hot shame pants quietly,
sure of its mark,
certain that its touch
will scorch, that its heat
will burn holes in
my wholeness.

Fear sneaks and springs
and darts through any crack,
cutting through freshly grown
roots, severing the tender tendrils
of my being, throwing the earth
in my eyes.

And as defence I seem to have
so little. My forces stand unsteadily beside me,
unformed as yet into coherent cohorts,
unable to spring as one at my command.
They engage in swift uncoordinated forays,
retreating for rest at
too soon intervals,
leaving me vulnerable, afraid, teetering.

- Robyn 

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Disability Royal Commission pauses public hearings

A pause on all public hearings in the Disability Royal Commission due to COVID-19 is a good chance to iron out current issues, disability advocates say.

If you need support for the Disability Royal Commission please contact our National Counselling & Referral Service on:

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

Read more

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Harvey Weinstein blames victims

Harvey Weinstein’s victim blaming and lack of remorse for his crimes and their ongoing impacts is as atrocious as it is destructive. Read more

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George Pell Fights for Freedom

George Pell’s last bid for freedom starts tomorrow at the High Court Read
 more here

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Wild Butterfly: Telling Claire Murray’s Story

The effects of child sexual abuse demand compassion and understanding, not judgement and ostracism.
(Trigger warning: This article may contain content that could disturb some readers)

Read more

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In uncertain times....

The Coronavirus pandemic means a challenging time for us all as individuals, communities, countries and globally. Such a time of uncertainty and threat can be hard for anyone. It can be particularly hard for people who are already living with the effects of previous traumas and anxiety. That’s why it’s important for us to do what we can to look after ourselves and our loved ones. And to support one another to stay as calm as possible and to walk alongside one another through this difficult time as much as we can. 

We understand that can be easier said than done but we have very recent experiences of us and our fellow Australians doing just that. During the recent bushfires and the flash flooding which followed we saw communities and, in fact, the whole country unite with a common sense of purpose. That purpose was to help and support our fellow Australians. We evidenced the best of the human spirit - despite and during adversity, people showing remarkable courage and compassion to pull together to help rebuild a safe cohesive community. It was a time of resilience and recovery, with the fresh growth we’ve seen literally sprouting around us and the hope that embodies. Already now we are seeing some incredible efforts from our health and community services, seeking to guide and support us, as we all try and understand the best ways to stay and be safe and well.

Media and social media
As always, the media plays a critical role in keeping us informed. However, the flip side of this is that we are subjected 24x7 to a constant barrage of information, some considered and some less so.  The reality is that there are simply some things about Coronavirus that no-one knows. Not knowing is really hard but the good news is that the world’s scientists are collaborating on an unprecedented scale… studying the virus and how to contain it and its impacts, working on a vaccine and treatments for the future. 

During this time, it is important for us all to stay informed but to try and limit our exposure to social media and media. This particularly applies to media which is opinion rather than fact, or which may not be trustworthy, and which can additionally fuel our existing anxiety and distress.  

Looking after yourself
As always, and even more so during these times, it’s important to focus on the activities and daily routines which help support your feelings of wellbeing. Although some of these may need to be varied during this period, such as during times of self-isolation or other imposed restrictions, getting as much restorative sleep as you’re able, eating well and exercising to keep healthy and doing things you enjoy is a good place to start. So too is staying connected with friends, family and other support networks.

 It is understandable to feel concerned during this time. Current anxiety can also trigger strong feelings and memories of previous traumas. It can be a time when you may need additional support.  If you could like to speak to one of our trauma counsellors please call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 between 9-5 Mon to Sunday. For more information about how to care for yourself, please go to our website for more information.

More information 
The Federal government has created an app which allows users to navigate the latest advice and information about Coronavirus in real-time.

The Coronavirus Australia app is available from Apple App Store and on Google Play

It provides information about

What you need to know
How to protect yourself and others
Personal hygiene
Social distancing
Self isolation
Public gatherings
Getting tested

It also provides additional information for particular groups such as health workers and education providers as well as access to reliable news sources.  It was launched alongside the Government's new WhatsApp feature.  Message +61 400 253 787 or go to aus.gov.au/whatsapp in your web browser to get coronavirus information you can trust from the official Australian Government chatbot.

For the latest advice, information and resources, you can go to www.health.gov.au

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number of your state or territory public health agency is available here.  If you have concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.

As an alternative to the helplines, answers to many questions are available on the healthdirect website coronavirus hub. This is a first point of reference for reliable information about COVID-19. The Healthdirect Symptom Checker provides self-guided triage to find out what to do next.

If you are supporting children and young people, this podcast directly fields kids' questions over the Coronavirus, and responds to them with information and reassurance.


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fact Sheets for the Community and Health Practitioners

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronvirus), Blue Knot have prepared some fact sheets to help members of the community, as well as health professionals take care of themselves and others during this challenging time.

Here at Blue Knot Foundation, we will continue to provide as many of our usual services as we can. As the health and wellbeing of our staff is our absolute priority we are rapidly transitioning our teams to working from home. We will still deliver all of our counselling services – Blue Knot Helpline and redress application support as well as the National Counselling and Referral Service supporting people affected by or engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. Our counselling services will maintain the high degree of professionalism, privacy and confidentiality currently provided. Should there be any disruptions to our services during this transitions, we anticipate that they will be minor and temporary. Our focus is for our trauma specialist counsellors to continue to provide the counselling, support and information currently provided through all the usual numbers and channels.

Blue Knot will be additionally releasing new publications and fact sheets in the coming months, including resources related to caring for ourselves during the Coronavirus outbreak

Download Fact Sheet for Community here 

Download Fact Sheet for Health Practitioners here 

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Are You Thinking About Applying for Redress?

The National Redress Scheme is a response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It started on the 1st of July 2018 and will end in July 2028.

The National Redress Scheme is available to  any person who experienced sexual abuse as a child (before the age of 18) within an institution, whether that is at school, a sporting club, a religious organisation, foster care or group home to name a few.

The aim of the Redress Scheme is to offer survivors of child sexual abuse within an institution an opportunity to apply for the following:

1. Access to counselling services 
2. A Redress payment of up to $150,000.00
3. A direct personal response such as an apology from the institution, which can take a variety of forms and is open for discussion with the survivor

At Blue Knot we are committed to supporting survivors through the Redress process, which we know can be challenging and traumatising if you are considering applying. Our Helpline counsellors can inform you about how the scheme works, as well as provide on-going support throughout the Redress process including completion of the application form. The support we offer is tailored to  each person’s needs.

We have been working with people applying for Redress since the scheme started.  We understand the rhythm of the process and can support and guide you through it in the least traumatising way, while at the same time honouring your unique needs and journey.  The counsellors supporting Redress applicants are the same trauma-informed counsellors who provide support on the Helpline. They are skilled at working with survivors with experiences of complex childhood trauma and if you want to apply for Redress, will be able to join you as you undertake the process.

For those of you who  have already started the process and have a friend, family member or support worker who is assisting you we can also help support them.  We offer a  mentoring program which has been specifically set up to support friends, family members and support workers. The program provides a confidential space for support people to chat with a trauma specialist counsellor and to access their own support as they also undertake this journey alongside you.

For those of you who have already put in an application, are waiting for a response from Redress and are finding this difficult please give us a call as we can provide support during this time.  We are currently working with other people who have also found this process very challenging, so we understand the impact it can have.

The team at Blue Knot are here to support you during at all stages of the process, whether  you are considering undertaking the Redress process, or you have already commenced your application. This can include providing you with information about the Redress Process, helping to determine your eligibility, taking the journey with you or helping you find a face-to-face service in your local area.

If you would like to have a chat about how we can help you, please call us on:

1300 657 380 from 9-5 Mon-Sun for a confidential conversation or you can email us at redress@blueknot.org

We look forward to hearing from you and offering you our continued support.


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Mental Health Human Rights Survey

Being, the independent, state-wide peak organisation for people with lived/living experience of mental health issues, is running a survey to collect statistics on consumer experiences of human rights issues in mental health treatment/care and in relation to mental health services generally.

The survey is part of Being’s development of a campaign on rights issues in the mental health system. The survey takes only 1 minute and can be found here

Anyone wanting to contact Being to tell their story is encouraged to join as a member here


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Book Review

Brief: Reflections on Childhood, Trauma and Society by Bruce Perry


This book is a collection of short essays and commentaries by Dr. Bruce Perry, a world renowned expert, teacher, researcher and clinician on childhood trauma. His thoughtful and provocative comments will stimulate deeper thought on how we raise our children and build our communities.

In the midst of the current coronavirus this small book of observations and insights of other writings about the fundamental, core issues at stake when children are raised in inhumane ways, turned out to be a good choice of how we can support each other through these strange times. It is about the individual and the community, and the author helps to connect the reader to the neurobiological principles as well as the ethical considerations of child abuse and neglect. The last chapter, entitled “Hope”, conveys a simple message that is pertinent for children and adult survivors - that it is possible to heal through the consistency of kindness shown by others. That kindness can come in many forms, even in the smallest of interactions, and those interactions can help the individual to build an internal representation of a better world.

An Important Update on Training Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We regret to inform you that Blue Knot Foundation has decided, for the safety of all participants as well as our trainers, to postpone our current workshops and training programs. This includes our published calendar as well as our in-house bookings. We have done this due to the unprecedented public health crisis we are all facing as we grapple with Coronavirus (COVID-19). Blue Knot’s priority is always the health and wellbeing of its community.

We will continue to review this situation over the next few months and once, the risk has passed, will reschedule our events. Please watch our website, newsletter and social media for any updates as they occur. We hope to see you at one of our events again in the future. If you have already booked on to one of our workshops or training programs, you would receiving email correspondence from Blue Knot in the coming days which will give you all the information that you need. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we wish you well during these challenging times.


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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.