Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services

Change Futures is concerned about the inter-generational trauma that contributes to the high rates of ill health and early mortality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the impact of all of this on family relationships and parenting. Although the chart below covers the whole population, it is clear that the experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reflects the history of ATSI people who have experienced complex trauma through forced removal, loss of family, dislocation of community, grief, loss of culture and shame.

Much research evidence exists that shows that children who have experienced significant trauma go on as adults to experience issues such as anger and rage; impaired memory and concentration; mental health issues such as depression and anxiety; sleep problems; suicide; drug and alcohol abuse; self harm; eating disorders; obesity and violence.

If this trauma remains untreated long term, the impacts have been shown to include heart disease; cancer; chronic lung disease; asthma; liver disease; sexually transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS. Social problems are also experienced including homelessness; prostitution; delinquency, violence and criminal behaviour; inability to sustain employment; re-victimisation through rape and/or domestic violence; inability to parent; inter-generational transmission of abuse; long-term use of health, behavioural health, correctional, and social services.

[Data supporting the above model can be found in the Adverse Childhood Experience Study (Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente) in ASCA Practice Guidelines.]

Change Futures provides counselling and psychology services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults through its partnership with Kurbingui Youth Development Ltd. Change Futures also provides professional supervision and training to Kurbingui staff and supports staff experiencing personal and professional challenges. Self care when working with complex trauma is essential and Change Futures is proud to support the staff of Kurbingui who work daily in this area.