Therese O Clemens Advocacy Award
This award is given in honor of and dedicated to Therese O Clemens who served as the ISSTD Executive Director for nine years, helping to stabilize the organization after financial challenging times and ensure the future of the organization. This award is presented to the lay individual or organization outside of the field of psychiatry or psychotherapy who, through their continuing efforts and dedication, has advanced the Mission and Vision of the ISSTD.
Blue Knot Foundation – National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma
The Blue Knot Foundation, under the leadership of Dr. Cathy Kezelman, was founded in 1995 as a self-help organization called ASCA (Advocated for Survivors of Child Abuse)and has been Australia’s premier not-for-profit organization providing information and support for anyone affected by complex trauma. Blue Knot provides extensive evidence-informed resources including guidelines, videos and fact sheets, as well as assisting with counseling support.
It was developed by survivors, for survivors, but over its 28-year history has combined the composite voice and passion of survivors with that of academics, clinicians and researchers. It has driven socio-political change advocating for recognition of the needs of complex trauma survivors, primarily the survivors of adverse childhood experiences. It took a leading role in advocating for an Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
The Blue Knot Foundation’s 2012 Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery were a global first. These represented the first time ever that the ISSTD had formally endorsed a set of guidelines that had not been created within the ISSTD.
In 2019, the Blue Knot Foundation launched new clinical guidelines for the treatment of complex trauma. Written by ISSTD members, Drs. Cathy Kezelman and Pam Stavropoulos, these clinical guidelines updated the original ground-breaking and internationally acclaimed clinical guidelines. The 2019 Guidelines were endorsed by the ISSTD and many other leaders in the field. Dr Cathy Kezelman, has for many years, worked full-time in an unpaid capacity, directing the growth of the Blue Knot Foundation. Her work has been honored by her being awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), on Australia Day 2015.
In October 2021 it was announced by the Australian Federal Government that the Blue Knot Foundation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, and the Australian Childhood Foundation were selected to establish and drive the new National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. The Commonwealth Government committed $22.5 million over the following five years to fund the operations of the National Center. The Blue Knot Foundation – Australia’s National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma works to empower the recovery of the more than 5 million Australian adults living with the impacts of complex trauma. Congratulations to Cathy and the entire Blue Knot Foundation.