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27 Sep 2012 | Press Release

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New guidelines for responding to childhood trauma

Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) today announces a global first with the launch of new guidelines in Australia for the Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery.

Funded by Federal Government Department of Health and Ageing, the guidelines were created by ASCA, the key national organisation focussed on the needs of adult survivors of all forms of childhood trauma.

Professor Warwick Middleton, Psychiatrist and member of ASCA's Advisory Panel stated: "Society has demonstrated an extreme reluctance to probe into how trauma and abuse fill our mental health units, our drug and alcohol detox services, our prisons and our medical wards. Most of our mental health patients are traumatised, many grievously so."

The purpose of the guidelines is to inform health professionals, workers and organisations about new ways of responding to trauma, in clinical practice and in health and human service settings. The guidelines aim to influence, advise and educate on treatment of complex trauma and the implementation of trauma informed care and service.

Clinical guidelines for the treatment of complex trauma have not previously existed, and the new guidelines are the world's first to collate the last 20 years of national and international research.

President of ASCA, Dr Cathy Kezelman, said: "These guidelines address a long outstanding gap in the knowledge and understanding of informed responsiveness to complex trauma and a trauma informed approach to care.

"These Practice Guidelines have received widespread national and international endorsement even prior to release. They will enable new possibilities for recovery for the estimated four to five million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma (Estimated from a range of key sources placing the figure at 4-5 million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma)."

The Government along with ASCA, and the co-authors of the Guidelines, Dr Cathy Kezelman and Dr Pam Stavropoulos, have been commended for their vision both nationally and internationally. ASCA and Australia are being recognised overseas for its pioneering work by leaders in the complex trauma field. Dr Kezelman and Dr Stavropoulos will present the new practice guidelines at an international workshop at the Annual ISSTD (International Society for Study of Trauma and Dissociation) Conference on 22 October in Longbeach, California.

ASCA is a foundation member of the national Advisory Working Group around Trauma Informed Care and Practice, under the leadership of Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC).

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