NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
STARTTS is a specialist, non-profit organisation that for more than 25 years has provided culturally appropriate and cutting edge psychological treatment and support to help people heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma and rebuild their lives in Australia.
STARTTS helps people and communities from refugee backgrounds, including asylum seekers, who were forced to leave their country due to persecution in the context of political conflict, organised violence and human rights violations. STARTTS also supports and resources service providers, educational institutions and volunteer groups to work more effectively with refugees.
Why does STARTTS exist?
A large number of the refugees coming to Australia have been exposed to traumatic events, and most will have experienced multiple traumas, including war and violence, deprivation, and the death or disappearance of loved ones. Many will also have been subjected to torture or severe human rights violations.
The physical consequences of torture and trauma are many, ranging from chronic pain to heart problems. However, it is the psychological and social effects that are often the most distressing and difficult to deal with. They can range from depression and anxiety to family conflict and breakdown.
This comes on top of the demands associated with leaving behind a familiar environment and coming to a country with a different language, culture and systems. In addition, refugees are coping with the normal ups and downs that all human beings face.
Despite the amazing resilience of refugees and the many contributions they make to Australian society, they will often need specialised assistance to overcome the effects of their experiences. With some help, torture and trauma survivors are more likely to live fruitful and fulfilling lives.