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





“It was the most friendly, welcoming, understanding and informative call I think I've ever had. It helped me find answers to help my wife whom I love dearly, who walked out on a twenty year marriage and four children because her past abuse was coming up. Thanks a lot, just hope it's not too late for my situation.”


“The most significant impact of the work that Blue Knot Foundation did was that it helped heal a rift between family members – I was stuck in the middle initially and felt alone, but Blue Knot Foundation provided me with a lot of support and resources. I felt well supported.”


“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

“I came here today to support my friend but found it all so informative. I too was abused as a child but have always tried to ignore it... This workshop has me thinking, questioning and wondering!!”


Providing Support

Providing Support for survivors

Family members, partners, and friends can provide vital support for survivors of child abuse and trauma. But survivors often struggle with communication and trust, especially in close relationships. This can make supporting a survivor challenging. Especially in romantic relationships.

When a survivor decides to work through the impacts of their trauma it can add stress to the relationship. Survivors can quickly feel overwhelmed. Even when they are not working on their trauma, painful memories can be triggered out of the blue. They can flood back and catch a survivor unawares. The survivor can feel out of control. With the memories come strong emotions. Survivors can react as though their trauma is happening in the present. Right there. Right now. This can trigger a stress response. This is a ‘normal’ reaction to trauma.

Survivors can sometimes swing out of control. They can go from being hyper-aroused (agitated) to hypo-aroused (shut down), over and over. This leaves them at the mercy of their own reactions. It’s frightening for them. It can also be frightening for their supporters.

Their supporters are confused. They don’t understand what’s happening. Survivors can become very self-focussed. Able only to survive. Partners, in particular, can feel unloved and unappreciated. It's hard to watch someone you care about in pain. Especially as the healing journey can take a long time. Supporters often feel helpless.

Simply "being there" can make an enormous difference. As children, many survivors had no-one. No-one who could help them make sense of what was happening. Many survivors learned that people were dangerous. That they hurt you. Walking alongside a survivor and bearing witness can help change a survivor’s beliefs that the world is dangerous.

Partners and friends don't need to be heroes. It's a fine line between offering support, and "rescuing" someone, but it's an important one. Survivors need people who are constant, consistent and trustworthy.

Times of crisis can be especially stressful. Looking after someone day-to-day is hard. It can challenge not only their relationship but their understanding of themselves and their world. Just as survivors can feel alone, so too can their supporters. They can feel as though there is no one to talk to – no-one who understands.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important for boundaries to be clear – what you can and can’t do. If you’re a supporter, it’s important that you look yourself. And take time out to nurture and care for yourself.

As in all relationships, difficulties and ruptures can occur. We are all human. We can sometimes misread interactions and react in a way that isn’t ideal.  That’s a given.  What’s important, especially with survivors, is how we repair those ruptures. Being defensive and leaving our egos behind is important. When there’s a rupture, it is helpful to think about how the survivor experienced the interaction. Reflect on your own triggers and issues. Speak openly, with kindness for the survivor and yourself about what happened and what you learned about the interaction. The repair is much more important than the rupture. Rupture will occur. Repair is the glue that heals and connects us back.

No-one pretends that supporting a survivor is always easy. It can be and often is inspiring. To survive is to be celebrated. So too is to heal and find a new way of being. Supporting a survivor can bring warmth, intimacy, and joy. Friends and partners can develop new levels of empathy and understanding. It means that in the future, your survivor friend, family member or partner will be happier and stronger. And perhaps even return the support they received.

Many people who have supported a survivor, talk about the personal awareness and growth experienced in walking alongside their survivor friend, family member or partner. Witnessing a survivor’s experience will create opportunities for you too. It can help you be more aware of your own patterns and events that have shaped your life.

"I am the partner of a survivor who was sexually abused as a young boy.  I have written a poem about how this has affected me as his best friend, wife of 30 years and our family. I have found that partners are often 'invisible'.

I lost;
my best mate
my partner
my lover
my rock
my protector
my sounding board
my son's support

I miss;
his jokes
our laughter
his cheeky smile
his strength
working together
the connection I had with my sons

I stay;
while he tries hard to get better
while I still see a glimpse of him every now and then
trying to cope behind the facade
while he reaches out when I need him
while there is hope.

Thanks for all the support from your organisation. My husband and I recently attended a workshop. It was overwhelming to meet others and the facilitators who actually 'get it'. We have already been able to implement some changes in our life which has helped us.

Please keep up the good work, we need you." 

Latest Articles



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