Framework for trauma-informed practice

Trauma-informed practice is a whole-of-system approach to support the wellbeing of those who use and work in our services.

The framework supports service providers in delivering trauma-informed practice. It promotes a shared understanding of what being trauma-informed means to:

  • children, individuals and families
  • professionals and volunteers.
Transcript of the Framework for trauma-informed practice video

Hello and welcome. My name is Kirsty Lomas.

A state-wide principal practitioner in the Office of Professional Practice, and I'm Anita Morris I'm also a state-wide principal practitioner here in the office.

The Office of Professional Practice within the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has responsibility for practice, leadership to guide, inform and influence, practice direction that builds capability, fosters the wellbeing of practitioners and enhances client outcomes.

So, it is with this responsibility in mind that we're delighted to introduce you to the Framework for trauma-informed practice.

The need for a framework arose from an understanding that trauma is a common experience in our community, that children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of trauma and adversity, and that supporting children and their families requires a system-wide, consistent understanding of and response to trauma experience.

Responsibility for trauma-informed practice is required at all levels and across all of our services.

The framework promotes and supports a shared understanding of what trauma-informed means to children, individuals and families, professionals and volunteers.

The framework has evolved over the past three years, and in the midst of a global pandemic, it is grounded in the evidence base of trauma-informed practice, extensive feedback from sector stakeholders and from people with lived experience.

The framework explains trauma, trauma, informed practice and other terms that are used when working with people who have had negative life experiences that have impacted on their health and wellbeing.

Learning about trauma gives us a way to understand behaviours, responses, attitudes and emotions.

As a collection of survival skills developed in response to life experiences.

The experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is highlighted in the framework in recognition of the importance of working in ways that are grounded in cultural safety and self-determination, to do no further harm and to promote stability, resilience, healing and recovery.

The framework provides accessible and practical advice to support services to be trauma-informed when working with all people.

It is framed around trauma-informed principles and practice domains that identify what it feels like and what it looks like when people are engaged in trauma-informed ways.

The framework explains that both service users and service providers can experience trauma. The use of I statements throughout the framework offers practical examples that describe how trauma-informed practice can be understood by a child, a parent, a caregiver, an individual family practitioner, or service leader.

At the system level, it is presented in three sections.

Section one gives background to the key aspects of the framework.

Section two offers ideas about how the framework can support better awareness and understanding of what it means to experience trauma.

Informed service either is a service user or service provider.

The third section is an appendix that provides a practice example to demonstrate the experience of members of a family, the trauma-informed practices of service providers across the different service settings, and how the system as a whole, responds in trauma-informed ways.

The appendix also includes a blank practice example template that services can use to develop their own examples of trauma-informed practice aligned with practice domains of the framework.

We have designed the framework to support delivery of trauma-informed practice in child and family services.

This includes family violence services for children, young people, individuals and families.

The framework can also be used to inform practice across all health and human services.

The framework speaks to practitioners both paid and volunteer workers, managers, service leaders and policymakers.

It applies to all people involved, regardless of their role or level of contact with people using services.

This includes client facing staff such as peer workers, practitioners, clinicians, case managers, support workers, and foster and kinship carers.

The framework audience also includes administrative or office staff, building maintenance staff, team leaders, program managers, boards of management and governing bodies.

It's written in a way that can support service users to better understand what they can expect from services they may wish to experience when working with a service provider.

Trauma-informed practice is a whole of system approach.

If people using services and people working in services are to have a truly helpful and healing experience of our service system, all elements must work together in a trauma-informed way.

The framework has been designed to complement existing practice frameworks and guidance.

It is aligned to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Community Services, Quality Governance Framework.

It's also aligned to the Department's Client Voice Framework for Community Services in recognition of the critical role of client voice and lived experience informing and contributing to everything we do.

This framework does not replace those models and frameworks. Instead, it is a complementary way of ensuring that trauma-informed practice is implemented across the service system.

This framework can be used flexibly, and we want to give you some ideas about how organizations can use the framework.

When you receive your copy of the Framework for trauma-informed practice, be sure to promote it widely and make it available to all staff.

The framework can be used to promote greater understanding of trauma and related concepts to help staff, say, trauma-informed practice from different perspectives, to inform strategic direction and planning, to review and align policies and procedures to include in position descriptions and code of conduct and embed into professional development curricula.

The framework can also be used to develop local examples of trauma-informed practice to create opportunities for reflection in individual and group supervision.

It can build support for staff and volunteers, promote lived experience, expertise and participation, embedding client feedback surveys and program evaluation, and to inform continuous improvement and auditing activities, and it can be built into submission requirements and service agreements.

These are not exhaustive.

They will, of course, be many other ways that the framework can be used to support and enable trauma-informed practice.

So, we are pleased to bring the framework for trauma-informed practice on behalf of the Office of Professional Practice.

Our vision is that it will be used in practical ways to understand and embed trauma-informed practice across our service system.

This is for the benefit of all service users and for all those providing services who want to work in a trauma-informed service system and be supported to do so.

Please share your practice examples with us as we would like to grow the appendix of practice examples to reflect the breadth and depth of trauma-informed practice across the services.

Thank you.

End of transcript.

The framework:

  • outlines the terms, principles and practice domains associated with trauma
  • contains practical advice for working with children and young people, individuals and families
  • provides an example of trauma-informed practice.  

All service providers can use the framework to inform their practice. It complements existing practice frameworks and guidance. 

Learning about trauma helps us see that people's behaviours, responses and emotions are shaped by their life experiences.

The framework was developed from consultations and feedback that included people with lived experience of trauma.