International leaders in the field of human rights and refugee trauma recovery will meet today in Adelaide for the 3rd Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference, to be held over three days (October 9 – 11).
The Conference will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre with the theme of Holding Hope in an Uncertain World. National and international speakers will unpack the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers, as well as their hope for safety and a better future in Australia.
The conference is presented by the Forum of Australian Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma, a national network of eight specialist torture and trauma rehabilitation services. FASSTT member agencies support survivors of torture and trauma who have come to Australia on humanitarian grounds. They bring with them a history of significant human rights violations which occurred in their country of origin and during their flight to safety.
“We are really pleased to bring this year’s conference to South Australia with such an exciting program and guest speakers,” said Robyn Smythe, Director of STTARS, South Australia’s specialist torture trauma and refugee service.
“Australia has a history of welcoming refugees and as we learn more about the circumstances from which they came, we recognise the importance of supporting them through the trauma of their experience, enabling them to become valued members of the Australian community .
“We need to look at how we sustain support for people and communities impacted by torture and other severe human rights violations, and cast a critical eye over the issue of human rights in the current socio-political context.”
Highlights at this year’s conference include first-hand accounts of mental health professionals from the Ukraine.
“We are incredibly lucky to have a visiting group of Ukrainian mental health professionals join us at the Conference,” said Ms Smythe. They will be speaking at a breakfast session and sharing their knowledge and skills of working with the impact of torture and war-related trauma in the Ukraine.
The Conference includes a spotlight on practitioners and service providers delivering trauma-informed services to refugees and asylum seekers, especially victims of violence such as women, survivors of sexual torture, and members of the LGBTQI community.
Presentations will focus on the rise of authoritarianism and nationalism with the marginalisation of minority groups who are persecuted because of their sexual and gender orientation. There will also be discussions on public attitudes to asylum seeking and media representation, and the challenges and ethics involved in working with torture survivors.
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