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


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Month of newsletter

September 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn

From the Editor

Our 2017 Blue Knot Day #UNITE Social media campaign will help us broaden the reach of Blue Knot Day on the 16th October, 2017 – we hope you can follow, participate and become part of this community campaign to raise awareness and unite in support of survivor recovery. Thank you to all our event organisers and attendees and all who have purchased merchandise to date. Your support and engagement means a lot.

To support your Blue Knot Day event out Helpline counsellors and previous Blue Knot event organisers have helped to create a printable and sharable 12 Tips to a Safe Blue Knot Day. This information is especially for event hosts, who may be survivors. We encourage everyone to stay safe and grounded throughout this period.

Our feature article details some of the key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for sweeping reforms to legislation and policy in the criminal justice system.

The Editors article encourages you to ‘do nothing’ and enjoy the many benefits of taking time out to be comfortable with slowing down, guilt free.

We include a poem from one of our Blue Knot community, we think this poem will resonate with many of our readers and you might like to print the image provided.

Our book review this month is for 'It wasn’t your fault' by Barbara Engel, a self-help resource which was recommended by a Helpline caller. Please consider sharing your favourite resources with us. We love to share your ideas with our community.

Finally the News section will provide all the stories that we have been following this month.  As always if you have comments about what you have read in this issue, contributions for the My Story section or suggestions for future issues, please contact me at newsletter@blueknot.org.au.

Warm regards
Jane Macnaught | Editor

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My Story - By Adrian

I Am Your Pain

I come into every life and in many different ways:
Small hurts, little worries, frustrations and disappointments, shame and regret;
Great grief, tortured thoughts, despair, bodily trauma, niggling doubts and grave fears;
I come as loss and aloneness, bleakness, confusion, weariness and depletion;
Sometimes vague, other times defined; passing quickly or persistently present. 

I am your pain.

Please do not neglect or reject me
Please do not curse or condemn me
Please don't run, please don't hide
Please don't deny or pretend
I need your care, I need you to be there.

I am your pain.

Open your ears, open your eyes
Open the door, open your heart.

I am your pain.

Please do not dramatise me
Please don't use me to define yourself
Don't hide behind me
Don't become noble because of me
Or use me to hurt or manipulate others.

I am your pain.

Hold me until I no longer need holding
Let me come, let me go
Let me be a lesson in love.

By Adrian


I am your pain

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To Keep You And Others Safe At Your Blue Knot Day Event

Preparations are well underway for Blue Knot Foundation’s national awareness and fundraising event Blue Knot Day, which will be held on Monday 16th of October and throughout the week of 16-22 October, 2017. Our Blue Knot Foundation community across the nation will unite in support of Australia’s five million adults who experienced abuse and trauma in their childhoods.  Thank you to all of our many supporters and helpers. 

We are aware, however, that speaking with people who may be working through or affected by their own trauma issues requires a delicate touch in which respect and safe boundaries are promoted and observed. 

This is particularly pertinent for event organisers who might be survivors themselves and may be “triggered” by talking about the impacts of child abuse, or feel emotional when stories are told. 

In recognition of the challenges faced by promoters and organisers, we are pleased to publish the following “12 Tips to keeping yourself and others safe and grounded while holding a Blue Knot Day Event”. 

These tips have been gleaned from interviews with Blue Knot Foundation’s experienced facilitators who provide educational workshops to survivors and the Helpline Counsellors who provide counselling support to our Blue Knot community.

  1. Follow an “avoid surprises” policy. Make sure the event’s details and schedule are clearly outlined before it gets underway. 
  2. Devise a way for participants to opt out of proceedings if they feel uncomfortable or are triggered.
  3. Communicate to everyone at your event that it is okay to take time out if they need to - to compose themselves, breathe or leave the event at any time.
  4. If you are speaking, attend to your own physical state by relaxing any tension in your jaw, shoulders and hands. Keep yourself grounded and extend your breath down into your abdomen. Speak slowly and quietly. 
  5. Let people know they are among supporters and treat everyone with respect. 
  6. Flag the likelihood that people might become emotional during the event and help ‘normalise’ that this is not unexpected. The topic of child abuse and other traumas can bring up a mixture of feelings and it is important to acknowledge this. 
  7. It isn’t necessary to share your own personal story of abuse, so don’t feel pressured to do so. If you want to disclose elements of your story perhaps perhaps focus on how your trauma affected you, what helped you and your process of recovery, if it is relevant. 
  8. It is important to avoid describing graphic details or acts of violence and abuse. This can be triggering to other event-goers. 
  9. Promote confidentiality. If people share their stories let them know it is best not to identify anyone else who is part of that story (involved or not in the event). If you feel that someone might be moving into unsafe territory in terms of what they are sharing, talk to them gently about the need to keep other people safe and comfortable. It is possible this person might feel triggered themselves, and be unaware of the impact they are having on others, so speak to them in a supportive way, without making them feel ashamed.
  10. Remain positive. Remember that the process of bringing people together to talk about the topic of child abuse and trauma can be very empowering as well as healing and supportive. Validate what people tell you, be compassionate and empathetic and remain a non-judgemental witness. 
  11. Broadcast a message of recovery. While it is important to mourn the pain and loss felt by those affected by childhood abuse and trauma, aim to finish on a positive note by talking about standing united around one another and the issue of childhood trauma. 
  12. If a person becomes overwhelmed and is not able to ground themselves or feels unsettled, suggest they call the Blue Knot Helpline to speak to a counsellor. The number is 1300 657 380 and the line is open 7 days between 9am and 5pm AEST. Write this number down so you can hand it out if needed. 

Recovery from childhood trauma is possible and  it is very empowering to hold onto hope together

We wish you all the best for your Blue Knot Day event and efforts. Thank you for your support and commitment to raising awareness for our community of survivors.

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The Art of Doing Nothing

By Breaking Free editor Jane Macnaught

I have been thinking about doing nothing – it’s a personal challenge. Slowing down. Be-calming like a sailing boat with no wind – sails a-flapping. How about you? Have you mastered the ‘art of doing nothing’ – and being happy with that – guilt free. In this article we explore ideas from two sources.

Firstly, in her book The Art Of Doing Nothing, Veronique Vienne (1998) talks about the challenges of slowing down. I found the book at a book fair for $3, – the title caught my attention.The language is gentle and quaint, describing a creative list of ways to ‘cajole your mind to let go and find some serenity’. Vienne argues that we need to convince ourselves, or ‘sweet-talk yourself into a lull.’

Here are some ideas from The Art of Doing Nothing: The art of doing nothing-image 1

Fact 1. Water streams and meanders around obstacles. Fact 2. Our bodies and the world is 70% water.  It is human nature to take the easy curved path  - to meander. If you are seeking time out then give yourself permission sometimes to abandon any activity midway – give into the distraction and procrastinate a little longer. Achieve nothing, it is natural.

Sauntering (from French sans terre means without land or home) is way of procrastinating outdoors – walking in a slow, relaxed manner without any fixed destination or time frame.

Whistling lets off some pressure and lets air out of your body in a tense situation. If you can’t whistle Vienne suggest you simply purse your lips and blow, experiment and persevere.

Breathing can of course occur whilst doing nothing. Vienne invites us to think of breathing as giving, not just taking. Visualise the plants and trees taking up your outbreath, No efforts or changes are required – remember that we are “doing nothing’.

Lounging is the art of bringing your attention back down to earth at the end of the day. Vienne suggests you get as low to the ground as is comfortable, stay put for a while, and wait for your head to slow down – this may be sitting on the back step, or stretched out in your favourite chair. Lounging takes time, your view of the world is on a different level now and you may notice things around you that were unseen from standing. 

Beach Lounging Stretched out on the beach, the sun makes us drowsy as you mold your body into the warm sand, get salt on your lips, and look at infinity – let your thoughts conform to the horizon.

Yawning is a ‘sudden internal event that stretches muscles inside out… a tiny vortex of low pressure somewhere in the middle of the head.  Soon it spreads through the entire body… dilates your pharynx, larynx, nostrils, and bronchial tubes; it lifts your eyebrows and your shoulders; it lowers your diaphragm to let your lungs expand… increases flow of blood to the brain… and the tongue retreats.” 

Napping. “If you have too much to do, take a nap – just a ten minute nap.” Many well known successful people have been known to take an afternoon nap – sleep research shows that a 10 -20 minutes nap refreshes the brain and increases intelligence, alertness and discernment. 

Bathing. Submerged in water you feel lighter, the water presses you as you slide around – bloated feelings go, as do backaches, sore muscles, joint pains as the whole body relaxes in a warm bath [or the ocean’s natural spa of salt water]. Add some natural fragrance, softening oils, dim lighting, and candles and do nothing.

Secondly, there has been a lot written about how the high levels of happiness in Danish society and it is often explained by hygge - cultural way of living which incorporates a range of things that make people happy (not necessarily material possessions) i.e. allowing yourself to feel warmth, comfort, cosiness, belonging, safety; and environments that enable relaxation and connection. You can read more about this in “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well” by Meik Wiking.

The art of doing nothing-image2
The Danish noun Hygge- pronounced ‘hue-ga’actually refers to a feeling, an awareness or a sense. Hygge is about being kind to yourself, embracing simplicity, taking your time, relaxing and being present in the moment. Small pleasures: giving yourself a treat, a break from the demands of healthy living. Cake is hyggeligt, so is coffee, tea or hot chocolate, warm socks, candles, popcorn, — it is about forgetting the rules for a while.

If we could all spend more time ‘actively’ doing nothing, with permission to do less, we may develop more self compassion, and lives with a little less anxiety and stress.  I think doing nothing is easier when it is an activity - is that still doing nothing?

I hope you feel inspired to take some time out to consciously do nothing, and invite hygge into your lifestyle, as always your feedback and ideas are welcomed. Write to us at newsletter@blueknot.org.au.



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Blue Knot Day Feature


Preparations are well underway for Blue Knot Foundation’s national awareness and fundraising day, Blue Knot Day, which this year will be held on Monday 16 October. On this day and throughout the week of 16-22 October, we will ask all Australians to unite in support of the 5 million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse.

Blue Knot Foundation's symbol for Blue Knot Day and our symbol all year round is the tangled knot, symbolising the complexity of childhood trauma. Blue Knot Foundation works to help untangle this knot. The ‘blue’ is representative of the clear blue sky of the possibilities of recovery.

BKF Day 2017

IT'S TIME TO #unitebkd2017...AND WIN $500!

This year the Blue Knot Day theme of ‘Unite in Support of Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma’ will also act as the backdrop for an Australia-wide social media campaign, featuring the hashtag #unitebkd2017.

 “This Blue Knot Day we are encouraging people to show their support by capturing an image of what ‘Unite’ means to them in the context of recovery from childhood trauma. We were overwhelmed with such positive feedback last year, when the iconic Sydney Opera House was illuminated blue for Blue Knot Day, as it was so public and visible”, said Cath James, Fundraising Manager. “So we decided to build on that theme, to provide a platform for anyone, anywhere, to show their support. This is about uniting and being visible in our strength of support”.

The ‘#unitebkd2017 Blue Knot Day Campaign’ encourages individuals, community groups and businesses to post an image on their own Facebook pages, featuring the hashtag ‘#unitebkd2017’, to show their support of adult survivors of childhood trauma. “This could be a group selfie at a workplace, Blue Knot Day morning tea, communities uniting together to demonstrate support, images of pets, plants…whatever unite means to you”, said Cath. 

The Blue Knot Day ‘#unitebkd2017’ Campaign will run for a period of 30 days starting 1st October, 2017 and finishing 12 midnight 30th October, 2017. Our favourite images will be shared online at Blue Knot Foundation’s own Facebook site throughout the month of October, to showcase a gallery of strength and support from across the country.

Each uploaded image with automatically enter the Blue Knot Day 2017 Photography Competition, which this year features a cash prize of $500. Images can either be posted on Facebook sites with the hashtag #unitebkd2017, or emailed directly to Blue Knot Foundation. #unitebkd2017 will be promoted on Blue Knot Foundation social media channels in the run up to Blue Knot Day. Full details, including the photography competition terms and conditions, are available online now.


There are a number of other ways you can 'Unite in Support of Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma' and help improve the lives of the five million (1 in 4) Australian adults who are survivors of childhood trauma, including abuse, including:

Hold and event in your community 

Blue Knot Day events can include a workplace morning tea, a community barbecue, trivia night, fun run, faith-based event or you can approach us with your own ideas!

“The Blue Knot Day theme this year, ‘Unite in Support of Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma’, is really about getting a groundswell of support behind us, that crosses community and corporate. We are encouraging widespread community support and we need volunteers to register as soon as possible to help start conversations in their own communities, through the workplace, by booking a local market stall or space at a local shopping centres, or organising a BBQ or a trivia night for example”, said Cath.

 “We have received a great response so far, with many volunteers or ‘Blue Knot Day Ambassadors’ wanting to be involved again after getting something positive out of being involved last year. We want to build on this momentum and to do this we need to communicate with more people. This requires support from volunteers at a grassroots level, in their own communities”.

“We are reliant on ‘Blue Knot Day Ambassadors’: volunteers who help us garner support, share information and start conversations. Volunteers are the absolute backbone of Blue Knot Day and we encourage anyone who is thinking of helping out to get in touch now”. 

If you want to fundraise at your Blue Knot Day or event find out more here. Blue Knot Foundation provides Fundraising Guidelines (if you choose to fundraise), support, guidance and advice to assist with formulating all Blue Knot Day community events.  Complete the form online to organise your event or volunteer on this page.

Make a donation online to support Blue Knot Day 

Donate today and help untangle the knot of childhood trauma and abuse. A recurring donation enables Blue Knot Foundation to continue its vital work long-term.

Blue Knot Day donations will be directed to the provision of professional support, information and resources to empower adult survivors of childhood trauma to recover.

For example, a donation of $50 will cover the cost of 20 newsletters, $100 maintains Blue Knot Foundation's online services for 1 day and $500 supports a day's development of Blue Knot Foundation's programs.

Purchase Blue Knot Day Merchandise

Purchase Blue Knots or Friendship Bracelets for yourself, family, friends and colleagues. Sell them at your event in support of Blue Knot Foundation and wear them with pride this Blue Knot Day, and unite in support of the 5 million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma. Braclet_merchandise

  • Visit Blue Knot Foundation's ONLINE SHOP 
  • Purchase your Blue Knot Day merchandise
  • Bracelets are available in packs of 5 for $25 
  • Blue Knots pins 5 for $20
  • Wear your Blue Knot pin or Friendship Bracelet in support of Blue Knot Day 
  • Encourage others to do the same 


Last year Blue Knot Day featured morning teas, BBQs, healing trails and faith based services organised across the country. This year we already have a number of community events and fundraising activities registered and we encourage anyone who would like to get involved to please get in touch as soon as possible. Blue Knot Day is run by the community, it is our day, together. 

If you would like to organise a Blue Knot Day event or help promote #unitebkd2017 in your community, simply register online or contact Blue Knot Foundation Fundraising Manager, Cath James, on (02) 8920 3611 / 0472 995 859 or email cjames@blueknot.org.au.

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Education and Training

Survivor Workshops

A big thank you to everyone who generously donated to our end of financial year fundraising appeal in June. We received a fantastic response from the community, raising $49,074 to keep our survivor workshops going. Blue Knot Foundation hopes to raise more funds to continue to provide these much needed workshops in coming years. 

Blue Knot Foundation’s one day educational workshops are specifically designed for adults who have experienced childhood trauma and/or abuse. They provide information to help survivors feel safe, learn about caring for themselves as well as how to seek effective support. 

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane workshops are full (contact training@blueknot.org.au to be placed on the waitlist) but there are still spaces available for the following workshops: 

Adelaide – 10 February 2018
Darwin – 17 March 2018
Townsville – 21 April 2018
Canberra – 28 April 2018
Perth– 5 May 2018
Launceston – 19 May 2018

Survivor workshopsHere’s what a couple of prior attendees said about their workshop experience:

“The great care taken to nurture participants and promote safety and inclusion, the respect and awareness of the facilitator combined to create a therapeutic and educational space was very beneficial. It was very well done.” Anonymous, Coffs Harbour. 

“I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I was worried that it could be quite personal and challenging and was relieved that the environment was so safe and informative and positive. Thank you so much for a very meaningful day.”
Anonymous, Sydney. 

Survivor workshops are free to attend but spaces do fill quickly. For more information and to book your place, please click here or email training@blueknot.org.au or 02 8920 3611.

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Self Help Heading



In this section, we will review self care/help resources our Blue Knot Helpline counselling team collects to share with people who call the Helpline. We are delighted to share these ideas with our Breaking Free readers. What is helpful for one person may not be right for someone else so please experiment, explore and find what suits you.

Book Review from Blue Knot Helpline

It Wasn't Your Fault

This book review was inspired by a caller to the Blue Knot Helpline. 'It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself From the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion', written by Beverly Engel. Our caller was keen to share it with us as “the best book” she has ever read. She found it immensely helpful for her recovery process. 

As a self-help resource, it gives an empathetic and insightful account of the nature of shame arising from childhood abuse and also offers a pathway for healing from this most difficult and destructive emotion. 

Beverley Engel, a practicing therapist in the USA and author of 22 books, writes in a very clear and engaging way about the different layers of shame that stem from childhood emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect and compounding traumas in later life. 

This book works from an understanding that even when you know intellectually that your abuser was responsible for what happened to you, you can still feel and think that you are damaged, worthless or that something is wrong with you. This is an expression of shame that results directly from what your abuser did and said to you. 

On top of this, many survivors feel bad about or repeatedly question themselves over how they responded to the abuse, the ways in which they coped and survived   and the strategies they adopted to protect themselves from further shaming. 

Engel presents the practice of self-compassion as an antidote to shame and harsh self-criticism. Each chapter offers guidance and experiential exercises for deepening your understanding of the origins of your shame, fostering a kinder, more accepting inner voice and moving towards a more nurturing relationship with yourself. 

She emphasises the importance of working through the book at your own pace including options for skipping or re-reading sections which are triggering. 

Our caller said: 

“…reading the book was immensely helpful, but at times triggering, for example it lists all the ways that someone may be abused, and I found that I could relate to the whole list. Engel gives practical exercises for releasing anger and I liked the way she teaches you how to throw your shame back at the perpetrator.”

If you would like to read a few more reviews on this book pop over to www.goodreads.com/book/show/20344352-it-wasn-t-your-fault

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.

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In the News Heading




The Catholic Church's child sexual abuse tragedy revealed in groundbreaking Australian five-year study

MANDATORY celibacy, the denigration of women and the Catholic Church’s “deeply homophobic environment” are key factors in the church’s global child sexual abuse tragedy, a ground-breaking Australian research study by two former Catholic priests has found.

Mandatory celibacy “remains the major precipitating risk factor for child sexual abuse”, Dr Peter Wilkinson and Professor Des Cahill of RMIT University’s Centre for Global Research found after a five-year study into systemic reasons for child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Read full article at 

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Doctors, lawyers and ministers all take a professional pledge: here’s why teachers should too

What do these occasions have in common: a wedding, a witness about to give evidence in court, and a citizenship ceremony? All are public occasions, all require witnesses, and – most importantly – all require those at the centre of the occasion to make a vow, swear an oath, or make a binding pledge.

Such occasions are far more common than we might think. Those joining the legal profession pledge to uphold certain values and behave accordingly. Think also of the words required at the swearing in of ministers of the crown or a president. Members of police and security forces, those joining the armed forces – even scouts – have to pledge to abide by codes of conduct and ethics.

Read full article at 

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Article 14

Child Abuse Royal Commission’s Work Must Continue

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that Julia Gillard launched in 2012 ends soon. As an abuse survivor and a practising psychiatrist treating many abuse survivors, I cannot stress too much how important it is to continue the commission’s work. It would be a callous betrayal of the thousands who have courageously told their stories if the commission’s recommendations are not adopted, to prevent a repetition of the sordid past and the possibility of abuse echoing down the corridors of history in some other malignant form.

For almost five years, thousands of harrowing stories have finally been heard; stories of institutional denial, obfuscation and cover-ups, of actions and inaction that placed institutions’ reputations ahead of the safety and wellbeing of children. Some institutions claim they should not be held accountable for the actions of the offending “bad apples”.

Read full article at 

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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.


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