Discussion paper on trauma-informed approaches to child sexual abuse released

25 October 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a discussion paper examining the growing interest in trauma-informed care and the implementation of trauma-informed approaches to support survivors of trauma, including survivors of child sexual abuse.

The discussion paper, Principles of Trauma-informed approaches to child sexual abuse, was produced by Dr Antonia Quadara and Cathryn Hunter from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Authors described trauma-informed care as emerging from the growing awareness of the impacts of trauma on victim/survivors of child sexual abuse and recognition that human-service systems needed to avoid inadvertently re-traumatising survivors of child sexual abuse.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the discussion paper provides an important contribution to our understanding of the key principles of trauma-informed care. These principles include:

  • having a sound understanding of the prevalence and nature of trauma arising from interpersonal violence and its impacts

  • ensuring practices and procedures  promote the physical, psychological and emotional safety of consumers and survivors

  • adopting service cultures and practices which empower consumers in their recovery by emphasising autonomy, collaboration and strength-based approaches

  • recognising and being responsive to the social and cultural contexts which shape survivors’ needs and healing pathways

  • recognising the importance of relationships in overcoming trauma and supporting healing.

 “The concept of trauma-informed care is about building an understanding of the traumatic impacts survivors will face at all levels of an organisation or system,” Mr Reed said.

“The discussion paper suggests that effective implementation of trauma-informed approaches will assist survivors of abuse and should help inadvertently re-traumatising them,” Mr Reed said.

Read the report.

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