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RFVP Disability Inclusion and Safety Resource Hub

Trauma Informed Practice - People with Disabilities

The Disability Inclusion and Safety Resource Hub has been developed for organisations and practitioners who are working with people with disability who are experiencing or using family violence. 

The Resource Hub provides ready access to important resources that promote safety, accessibility, equity and inclusion of people with disability which can aid in reducing barriers and increasing safety.  Resources are relevant to Organisational Leaders, Specialist Family Violence and Sexual Assault Practitioners, Disability Services, Health, Family Support, Education and others.


People with disability experience and witness repeated trauma more often than people without disability. Many children as well as adults with disability have experiences of repeated trauma. Many people with disability experience a lot of obstacles a lot of the time. People with disability who have experienced trauma are disproportionately affected by systemic or structural inequalities. Experiencing trauma adds even more obstacles to living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.

Many people do not understand trauma or how it affects people. This lack of understanding can cause more barriers and discrimination for people with disability who have experienced trauma. It is important to be aware of the barriers to inclusion for people with disability who have experienced trauma. For example:

– Many people with disability do not get to choose a preferred service.
– Many do not choose caregivers or supporter workers either.
– Often the support is chosen for the person with disability.
– Sometimes this is for financial reasons.
– Sometimes there is only one service available.
– That service might not understand trauma or disability.
– It might not be safe.
– A person with disability might have to accept something even when it does not feel safe for them. And if the person does not comply with service demands or directions, this might not be safe either. This can make services damaging and abusive.

It is very important to be sensitive to the communication needs of people with disability who have experienced trauma. Many people who have experienced trauma find it hard to speak about the abuse. Many people disclosing abuse are not believed. Children, people who face communication or language barriers, or people with intellectual disability can face additional barriers to speaking about abuse.

Sometimes, people with disability are also not understood or believed when they disclose abuse. This is because some people wrongly think that people with disability are not reliable witnesses.

Source: Disability Guidelines for Trauma-Informed Practice – Supporting people with disability who have experienced complex trauma, Blue Knot Foundation, 2021


Disability Guidelines for Trauma informed practice - supporting people with disability who have experienced complex trauma

About this resource: These Guidelines have been developed to support organisations and practitioners with an understanding of what is needed to provide trauma informed services for people with disability.

The Guide is also provided in plain English here.  

Applying this resource: For organisations and practitioners.     

Trauma Informed Support - Quick Reference Guide for Practitioners

About this resource: This Quick Reference Guide outlines the Six core values of Trauma informed practice.   

Applying this resource: For organisations and practitioners.   

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