Breaking Free – November/December 2022

From the editor

Welcome to the November/December combined edition of Breaking Free. As we head into the holiday season, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the challenges many people experience during the holiday season. It can be a particularly confronting time for people with experiences of complex trauma. We all cope in different ways but please do reach out for support if you need it. The Helplines are operating right through the holiday period. Our lead article speaks about ways to care for yourself and the importance of connection for many.

As most readers are aware, Blue Knot together with the Australian Childhood Foundation and The Healing Foundation have established the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse. In this edition, we are seeking feedback into the draft 5-year strategy the National Centre has drafted. More information can be found on the thinking behind the strategy, and why your feedback will help us to further refine it for maximum impact. The voice of lived and living experience and feedback from diverse stakeholders is critical to everything the National Centre does.

The Disability Royal Commission is closing for submissions at the end of December, and we urge anyone who might be considering making a submission to seek support or further information before the deadline.  We have included important dates and links to help you access the information you need. And just to note the National Counselling and Referral Service will continue to provide emotional support to people with disability and complex trauma experiences in 2023.

Finally, we would like to thank you so much for being part of the Blue Knot community this year. Together as a community, we are passionate about empowering survivors on their journey of recovery and healing. We look forward to connecting with you again next year.  If you need support over the holidays, please call the Helpline which can support you during the hours listed below.

Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Support Service
1300 657 380 Monday – Sunday between 9am – 5pm AEDT.

The National Counselling & Referral ServiceDisability
1800 421 468 9am – 6pm AEDT Monday – Friday
9am – 5pm AEDT Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

All the best
The Blue Knot Team

The Importance of Connection

two people sitting on the top of a hill with a view of other hills in the distance facing each other

Many people who have experienced repeated violence, neglect or abuse struggle to feel and be safe. As a result, some people withdraw into a space of being alone as this has helped them to feel safe because other people have hurt them previously. As human beings we seek safety and naturally try to avoid danger and harm. For people who have experienced repeated danger, even when the danger has passed it can be hard to risk connection, to trust that things can be different, and that any person will prove trustworthy and safe.

The reality however is that we are inherently social beings. Just as people are harmed in relationships so too people heal and recover in relationships. But it can be hard to identify who to reach out to and how to connect. Additionally, it can be hard to overcome the shame and self-blame so many survivors feel as a result of what happened to them. For many this is compounded by judgment and discrimination which they have experienced as well. Triggers are often close to the surface and well-meaning but misguided interactions can reinforce a sense of alienation and at times cause additional trauma.

As part of protecting ourselves we all use us a range of defences. In this case withdrawing is designed to keep people out and at arms’ length. This all makes perfect sense in terms of trying to stay safe, but it does often also mean isolation. In starting to heal from trauma it is important to try to start seeing who may be there alongside you within your frame. The next step is thinking about who you feel you might be able to trust and with whom you can potentially navigate a safe space. You can help set this up by actively thinking about your own boundaries. These boundaries will not be there to keep everyone out but rather to help empower you and give you a sense of autonomy. Each positive interaction you have can help build a sense that connection is possible and over time that healthy relationships are within reach.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a friend, a family member or a professional – someone with whom you can be real and share your feelings and thoughts. And through this process start to build a healthy sense of connection. Many people especially those who were violated in childhood have not been able to build healthy bonds or attachments, in the first instance with their caregivers. The attachment style we develop as a child informs our attachments in other relationships later on. This can make it more difficult to build and stay in healthy relationships but our ability to do this can absolutely change over time.

It is a childhood need to feel and be safe, to be seen, to be soothed and to be secure. We still need this when we are adults including when we have not experienced this as a child. In fact, our needs because they have not been met, can be even more urgent. The good news is that we can heal and recover and building connection can help. That said sometimes it can still feel hard to identify who you might choose to speak to so … as we approach the holiday season if you would like to speak to someone please do reach out and connect with the Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Support Service.

Please call 1300 657 380 between 9am-5pm AEDT x 7 days/week. Our trauma counsellors are here to speak with and support you.

For information on ways to support your self-care please go to: and see the resources we developed for Blue Knot Day 2022:

*trigger warning

Opportunity to contribute to a research project around sexual offenders

many people walking through street in a city

This project is seeking participants who are victims/survivors of sexual violence, 15 years or older and who live in Australia. It is being undertaken by a team of researchers in the School of Justice at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in collaboration with the Bravehearts Foundation.

The purpose of this project is to better understand victim/survivors’ views about sex offender reintegration and the management of sex offenders within the community. This study will contribute new knowledge about victim/survivors’ opinions of sex offender reintegration and provide guidance to policy makers.

To find out more and complete the short survey please click on the link below:

Survey: Victim/Survivors' Perspectives on Sex Offender Reintegration

Opportunity to provide feedback to National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse 5-year draft strategy

As you may be aware, Blue Knot Foundation, The Healing Foundation and the Australian Childhood Foundation have been funded to establish and run the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse – one of the key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The National Centre has released a Draft Five Year Strategy which represents the start of a committed journey to transform the way that child sexual abuse is understood and responded to in Australia.

It describes a collective ambition in which we all work together to:

  • Empower, educate and enable families, communities and service providers to better meet the needs of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse across their life course; and,
  • Inspire community, policy and practice change to stop child sexual abuse from occurring.

This Draft Five-year Strategy sets the starting point for what the National Centre intends to do and accomplish. We know that we cannot achieve our plans without collaborating closely with the many national, state and local initiatives and plans in the making or already underway. For that reason, the National Centre is seeking additional feedback from victims and survivors, service providers, policy makers and researchers, and the broader community to refine the focus and impact of the Strategy.

You can download the strategy here

You can provide your feedback by completing a short anonymous survey which is available here:

If you would prefer you can also request to talk to one of the National Centre’s staff and give us your views directly by emailing us at [email protected]

Find out more here:

This final phase of seeking feedback will close on 13/1/23 and then the final Five-Year Strategy will be launched in Feb-March 2022 at an appropriate time.

Closing of Submissions to Disability Royal Commission

Thinking about sharing your experience with the Disability Royal Commission? Please take note of these closing dates for submissions:

  • Electronic and hard copy submissions close on 31 December 2022
  • Phone submissions close on 23 December 2022
  • Submissions in Auslan must be booked by 12 December 2022

Don’t leave it too late to have your story heard. Visit the Disability Royal Commission website to find out more about making a submission.

The Disability Royal Commission will be unavailable to assist with queries between 23 December 2022 to 3 January 2023.

The National Counselling and Referral Service – Disability, is available to support you over the holiday period and after with ongoing emotional support. The service operates between 9am and 6pm AEDT Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm AEDT Saturday and Sunday and public holidays.

Call them on 1800 421 468 for counselling support, or ask to be connected to a counsellor or advocate near you.

Your Story Disability Legal Support is available to assist you with free legal advice and submission support over the holiday period. They are available Monday – Friday (excluding Public Holidays). Call them (free call) on 1800 77 1800.

Help raise money for Blue Knot Foundation while you shop

Blue Knot Foundation has partnered with Doing Good Rewards, a platform that helps charities raise money while you save money on your shopping.  Just by registering, you can save at over 150 retailers, and at the same time help Blue Knot Foundation raise funds to help empower adult survivors of complex trauma.

So how does it work?

Sign up here , register your Visa, Eftpos or Mastercard and get automatic discounts of up to 25% at local merchants and over 150 online retailers. A proportion of your saving is passed on to Blue Knot Foundation as a tax deductible donation.  You don’t have to show your card and you don’t have to give extra dollars!  Not only will you save money on your transaction, you will also be donating part of your saving to Blue Knot Foundation just by shopping as you do now.

We thank you for your support!

Holiday Support Hours

blonde woman typing on smartphone with both hands

If you would like to speak to one of our counsellors during the holiday period, please call:

Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Support Service on 1300 657 380 Monday – Sunday
between 9am – 5pm AEDT.

The National Counselling & Referral Service Disability will also be open and can be contacted on 1800 421 468 9am – 6pm AEDT Monday – Friday, and 9am – 5pm AEDT Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

Please note that the Blue Knot Office – administration will be closed from 23 December 2022 and will reopen on 9 January 2023