NCNS talks about trauma at the NSW Health VAN Clinical Forum

In 2017, Integrated Violence Prevention Response Service (IVPRS) students had come to our Koolyangarra Aboriginal Child & Family Centre (Kooly) in Cranebrook to get some experience engaging with Aboriginal staff for their practical training. Trudy Grant, NCNS Aboriginal Community Coordinator, and Carolyn Gilbert, NCNS Aboriginal Team Leader, Early Childhood talked with the students about community stories of trauma that they had experienced and the need for Aboriginal programs based on their trauma and aimed at Healing.

From this connection with IVPRS, NCNS then had 6 child protection counsellors from (IVPRS) come to Kooly to run a one day, Talking about Trauma Workshop where Aboriginal community members were encouraged to share their own experiences and discuss the impact of trauma on themselves and their families.  The facilitators talked about what trauma is, how it affects us, what it does to our kids and our relationships with them, how this affects our parenting and what we can do.

After this workshop it was even more evident that there was a need for culturally safe therapy to help break the cycle of Aboriginal generational trauma.

This workshop was the catalyst that led to NCNS’s partnership with IVPRS to develop an eight week, Talking about Trauma Pilot Project that would be delivered in the culturally safe space that is our Koolyangarra Aboriginal Child & Family Centre in 2018.

The program was facilitated by experienced Child Protection Counsellors, Jem Maddox and Jenny Deighton Shapcott from IVPRS, and supported by NCNS Aboriginal workers Carolyn Gilbert and Trudy Grant. During this 8-week program participants would explore complex trauma, triggers, and self-awareness to address trauma on themselves firstly and then their parenting to help them parent better with support from the workers from IVPRS & NCNS.

NCNS and IVPRS have since received a certificate of Appreciation, Reward and Recognition 2018 from NSW Health for the Talking About Trauma Program delivered in 2018.

Jem Maddox (IVPRS) and Carolyn Gilbert, NCNS Team Leader, Early Childhood were recently invited to present at the NSW Health Violence, Abuse & Neglect (VAN) Clinical Forum in Sydney on Tuesday 23rd July. At this Forum, Jem and Carolyn discussed the partnership between IVPRS and NCNS, to develop a targeted response to the needs of Aboriginal families, to discuss the impact of trauma on their parenting.

Carolyn Gilbert stated, “I was really nervous to get up and present to over 500 frontline VAN Clinicians from Nepean Blue Mountains,  Western NSW Local Health Districts and even from out Western Plains, Forbes, Dubbo areas too, but I am so passionate about this work and the response from the audience was extremely positive.”

Participants feedback from the program has also been positive, with the program helping participants feel that they are not alone in sharing their stories and getting the tools to help with their triggers.

We are currently in the middle of another Talking about Trauma Program in a cultural context for Aboriginal Parents and Carers delivered at Kooly, ending 12th September 2019. This is an intensive program, so we like to end the 8 weeks with a pamper session for participants.

We are so grateful for this wonderful partnership with IVPRS and we hope to continue to deliver this valuable program in the future.

If you have any questions regarding the Talking about Trauma program please email us at


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