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 AEST
or via email helpline@blueknot.org.au


Do you live with disability?  Have you experienced abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation?

For support for Disability Royal Commission or general support contact our National Counselling & Referral Service

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




Memory Fact Sheets

Why do we sometimes struggle to remember? If you’re not sure, you're not alone. There’s been a lack of understanding about memory for a long time – and it’s had dire consequences. That’s because many victims of abuse only recover memories of their trauma years later, and when they do they’re often not believed, or taken seriously – in the justice or health system, or with family and friends. That can stop them getting justice or the right treatment, causing untold harm. The fact sheet on Memory – The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth presents the latest research, including references, around memory, traumatic memory and recovered memory. The information in the full fact sheet is also presented in 4 summary fact sheets.

Contrary to what many people think, there’s not just one type of memory. In fact, there are two main types of memory. A summary fact sheet reviews classification around memory, and another helps expand our understanding around memory.

The two main types of memory are implicit and explicit memory. Implicit memory is mainly unconscious and can’t be put into words. It’s the type of memory which helps us ride a bike or drive a car, without actively thinking about it. Or the memory of how we felt during an experience. It’s often experienced in the body, and triggered by something around us, such as a smell, sight or sound, or on an important date, like an anniversary.

The other main type of memory, “explicit” memory is what people normally think of when they think about memory. Explicit memory is conscious. We know about it and we can talk about it. It’s the memory we engage when we recount a story, or when we relay knowledge and facts. Many people think explicit memory is the only type of memory, or that it is more important. That’s simply not correct.

One of the biggest myths is that people can’t forget traumatic events, and remember them later. This is not true and the fact sheet on traumatic memory helps us understand the effects of trauma on memory. Traumatic memory is implicit memory – it cannot be recalled at will and put into words. A person who ‘remembers’ a traumatic memory will often experience it in their body or as a behaviour or action, from the past. Such a memory is triggered out of the blue, appearing as fragments of intense emotions, sensations, movements and behaviours. Memories that are forgotten for a period and then remembered, also known as recovered memories, have often been questioned as to their reliability.

The fact sheet on recovered memory presents research which shows both recovered memory and always remembered memory are equally reliable. It provides vital information for legal and health professionals, as well as the general public. It can help therapists to understand their clients’ struggles, and it can help lawyers, jurors and judges when they interview, cross-examine and make judgements. Most importantly, it can help ensure trauma victims receive the support, justice and compassion they deserve. 

An additional fact sheet 'Trauma and Body Memories' developed after the publication of 'The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth' can be downloaded here

To read the full paper: The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth, Click here.


Fact Sheets

The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth

Memory Classification

Understanding Memory

Traumatic Memory

Recovered Memory

Trauma and Body Memories




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.”


Contact Us

Phone: 02 8920 3611
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST

Blue Knot Helpline
Phone: 1300 657 380
Email: helpline@blueknot.org.au 
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

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: 
Jo Scard
+61 457 725 953 
or jo@fiftyacres.com