STARTTS is the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors. We provide services to assist people from refugee and refugee-like backgrounds who have experienced torture or other traumatic events before arriving in Australia.

We do this by helping individual refugees and families recover from their experiences, working with refugee community groups to foster empowerment and self-determination, and supporting other organisations and individuals working with refugees.

STARTTS is a not-for-profit charity and has been providing services to refugees since 1988. We are now one of Australia’s leading organisations for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture and trauma survivors.

You can find more information about the assistance we provide to torture and trauma survivors on our How We Work and Services pages.

Why does STARTTS exist?

AboutFor some years Australia has accepted around 13,000 refugees from all over the world, with this number set to increase in the coming years. More than one third of these refugees will settle in NSW.

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.