FASSTT Conference 2017

FASSTT Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference

Liverpool MRC attended the inaugural FASSTT Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference on Thursday 30th March.  This served as a wonderful opportunity to explore the most effective means to support refugees to recover from trauma and settle in Australia. The speakers ranged from professionals working in the fields of education, health and community sectors, to leaders of non-profit organisations, to community members with a lived refugee experience. The vast array of knowledge and experience on offer made for an inspiring day. Information was disseminated through presentations, workshops and panel discussions, however across all mediums, the passion to achieve positive outcomes in refugee settlement was a consistent theme.
It was difficult to narrow down which sessions to attend throughout the day, however we chose to focus on youth targeted approaches; an emerging area of interest for us here at the Liverpool MRC. Many discussions in this area returned to the fact that in order to have trauma informed interventions for school aged children, work must be collaborative, holistic and systemic, between trauma counsellors, the school, the family and the child.
It was difficult to narrow down which sessions to attend throughout the day, however we chose to focus on youth targeted approaches; an emerging area of interest for us here at the Liverpool MRC.
Exciting new ways to engage refugee youths who have experienced trauma were also explored, such as sand-play therapy and drumming programs.  The overarching take-home from these fascinating presentations was that schools must be trauma and attachment informed, in order to best support refugee youths throughout their settlement.  These findings have galvanised Liverpool MRC to continue building our positive relationships with schools, our ever-expanding youth programs, and our approach of holistic interventions that invite stakeholders throughout the community to be a part of what we are working towards.
  The vast array of knowledge and experience on offer made for an inspiring day.  Information was disseminated through presentations, workshops and panel discussions, however across all mediums, the passion to achieve positive outcomes in refugee settlement was a consistent theme.
The two plenaries that bookended the day were an at times a harrowing look at the reality of the global refugee crisis, with international experts providing statistics, research and findings in the area of trauma recovery and resettlement.  Whilst the situation can seem overly daunting, it was extremely heartening to hear perspectives from those at the front-lines of refugee support, and to hear the reasoned yet passionate responses to this crisis.  Whilst so much has been achieved in the area of supporting refugees through trauma recovery, there is still so much to learn, and over the coming years the impact of trauma on the brain will continue to yield new discoveries, and consequently new and more effective interventions.

 

Until then, we are left with the timely reminder from Jorge Aroche (CEO, STARTTS NSW), that fighting the conditions that create torture and refugee trauma should always be at the forefront of the work we do, in the hopes that one day, there won’t be a need for us.

 

by Cassandra Cannon

 

To find out more about the conference, program or speakers visit www.refugeetraumaconf.org.au/