Emerging Minds develops online course to support children who disclose trauma
The Sector > Research > Understanding Children > Emerging Minds develops online course to support children who disclose trauma

Emerging Minds develops online course to support children who disclose trauma

by Freya Lucas

August 16, 2022

Given the close bonds between children and the educators who care for them, there may be times when educators are approached by children who disclose traumatic events, as the physical, emotional and psychological aftershocks from what they have experienced unfold.


Before the age of 12, Emerging Minds said, one in four Australian children will experience trauma. This may be a one-off event, such as their parents separating or the death of a loved one, or an ongoing concern such as family violence, sexual abuse or adult substance use issues.


In an environment of secrecy, the damage from trauma – particularly abuse and neglect – can grow unchecked. However, educators have the power to help children make sense of their experiences and help them to recover.


National infant and child mental health organisation Emerging Minds has developed the online course Supporting children who disclose trauma. Created for allied health professionals, the course may also benefit educators.


Emerging Minds’ Practice Development Manager Dan Moss says the course will give professionals the confidence to know how to respond to children who are known to have experienced trauma or abuse, or children who trust an adult enough to share their experience with that adult.


“We know that guilt, shame, self-blame and secrecy are often weaponised by adult perpetrators to silence children who have been or are being abused,” Dr Moss explained.


“At the heart of this course are the ‘Four Ps’ which support children to move beyond blaming themselves for their experience of trauma.” 


The Four Ps are:


  • Power
  • Protest
  • Purpose; and
  • Participation.


The Four Ps have been developed with professionals with extensive experience working alongside children who have experienced trauma. They include practitioners working in the family violence and sexual abuse recovery spaces, social workers, allied health professionals and academics, and families with a lived experience of trauma. 


While the strategies and activities explored in this course are not designed for an educational setting, the Four Ps framework can help educators to understand the factors at play in cases of child abuse. 


It can help educators to overcome their fear of ‘saying the wrong thing’, and instead engage children who disclose experiences of abuse in empathic, hopeful and shame-free conversations.


Emerging Minds has also produced the fact sheet Responding to a disclosure of child sexual abuse, which is designed for any adult who works with children. It provides clear, stepped guidance on how to respond to a disclosure of abuse, using the five SAFER steps:


  • Stay calm
  • Ask open questions
  • Focus on safety
  • Explain next steps
  • Report.


Supporting children who disclose trauma is the third in a series of trauma-based online training courses, and follows The impact of trauma on the child and Supporting children who have experienced trauma. Like all of the content from Emerging Minds, these courses are free to access.


Dr Moss says children’s lives can be changed if adults have the knowledge and confidence to help them make meaning of their experience of trauma and can empower them to move forward.


“Supporting children who disclose trauma is a course that will take just three hours of your time, but the knowledge to be gained will give you the potential to change the trajectory of a child’s life. It’s very powerful,” Dr Moss said. 


Emerging Minds has a wealth of free resources that parents, caregivers, educators, doctors and other professionals can access. Find them here

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