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Trauma specialist assistance for people with disability


By Juliano Oliveira

People with disability who have experiences of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation have now the possibility to obtain trauma-informed counselling and referral.

The service, provided by Blue Knot Foundation, a national centre of for complex trauma, is free and can be used by anyone – even if they haven’t made a submission or had prior involvement with the Disability Royal Commission.

President of Blue Knot Foundation Dr Cathy Kezelman AM says the free service is essential for those who have been in the middle of a violent and exploitation situation, especially now with COVID-19.

“We’re committed to providing support for people with disability affected by trauma including those experiencing additional stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever we are seeing the need for additional tele-support for people in need due to the loss of support and advocacy networks in a time of escalating need,” Dr Kezelman said.

“Over 5 million adults in Australia have experiences of complex trauma which is repeated ongoing interpersonal trauma and abuse, often from childhood, as an adult, or both. Repeated trauma is more common for people with disability who often have significant support needs and face many barriers to participation. It provides an essential gateway to frontline support, counselling, legal and financial services, as well as practical supports.

“We listen, hear and understand what a caller needs in the moment and work with them to find how best to provide and broker appropriate trauma-informed support. It is a safe first point of contact, which provides choice and empowers callers to identify their needs, including any barriers to overcome.

“We also provide information and tools to support callers to better manage their trauma and distress, supporting not only people with disability but also advocates, family members, friends, carers, service providers and frontline workers and directing them to other support resources as needed,” Dr Kezelman said.

To aid access, the service is available by phone, webchat, videoconference and SMS.

Call the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468, 9am – 6pm AEST Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm AEST Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

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