I feel that a great burden has fallen off my shoulders and that feeling of depression is gone. You have helped me make that positive step toward the future and given me a sense of hope.

Thank you for supporting our work. Every donation, whether large or small, helps us in our work of providing services and support to people who have survived terrible and traumatic experiences.

Your donation will help us to provide more comprehensive services to the people that need them most, particularly children, young people and older refugees.

STARTTS uses to process our donations – it is a secure, quick and easy way to make sure your donation goes straight to where it is needed most.
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Thank you for your support. If you would like more information about making a donation,
please phone 02 9794 1900 or email



STARTTS Research For many years, STARTTS has been committed to using research as a tool to explore, investigate and expand knowledge on the psychological needs of traumatised refugees.

Conducting clinical and community based research is a vital part of STARTTS’ work and has enabled us not only to improve services for our client group, but also to provide valuable information to other professionals working with refugees or trauma survivors, promoting the development of new treatment techniques and helping people to appreciate the complications involved in refugee lives.

Moreover, research plays an important role in helping to raise awareness within the general public of the difficulties and obstacles which refugees must face.

Research at STARTTS is an ongoing and vital part of the work done by our team and helps maintain a continuous link to refugee communities, ensuring that our work remains at the forefront of the trauma treatment field and that we continue to produce the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Current Research Studies at STARTTS

STARTTS is currently involved in several collaborative research studies examining a range of issues relating to trauma and refugee resettlement. Research projects currently underway include:

Comparing the effectiveness of Acupuncture treatment and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy within a group of traumatised refugees.  It is hypothesised that both treatment methods offered together will reduce symptoms of PTSD and depression more efficiently than one treatment method on its own.

A joint project between STARTTS and University of Technology Sydney

Researchers: Mariano Coello, Thuy Tran, Shakeh Momartin, John O’Connor, Gary Thornell, Susan Maddrell, Carmela Morano, Tshimanga Beya, Meng Thai, Esber Melhem, Sanja Stefanovic, Tajana Opacic, Daniel Zu and Claudia Herrero (STARTTS) and Associate Professor Peter C Meier and Associate Professor Tapan Rai (UTS)

Researching the use of Multi-CASI (Multilingual Computer Assisted Self-Interview), used to assist in the standardised assessment of people who speak diverse languages and have limited literacy skills.  The computer program considerably eases the process of data collection for therapists and offers a number of advantages such as data completeness and standardisation, immediacy of data entry and elimination of transcription costs and errors.

Researchers:Jorge Aroche, Mariano Coello, Shakeh Momartin,  Russell Downham.

Exploring the perceptions of the Sydney Karen and Mandaean refugee communities of the impact of refugee and settlement trauma on their 0-5 year olds, and exploring those communities’ help-seeking preferences for the children and caregivers.

Researcher: Rosemary Signorelli

Research Steering Committee: Wah Wah Naw, Daniel Zu, Tajana Opacic, Andrea Pritchard, Yassmen Yahya, Esber Melhem, Gary Cachia, Shakeh Momartin, Marc Chaussivert and Mariano Coello.

Research on the efficacy of sand-play therapy on post-traumatic nightmares in refugees diagnosed with PTSD.

Researcher: Adriana Siefertova

STARTTS Research Publications

New Land New Home Working with Refugee Survivors of Torture and Trauma
Robin Bowles, Esber Melhem, Tiep Nguyen and Meng Thai
Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press Australia from Case Management: Inclusive Community Practice 2nd ed, edited by Elizabeth Moore © Oxford University Press,

Ethical Issues in Cross-Cultural Psychotherapy
Robin Bowles

STARTTerS Collaborative Early Childhood Services for Refugee Families: Drumming, Dancing and the Wobbly Wall
Rosemary Signorelli and Mariano Coello
© 2011  ECIA (NSW Chapter) Conference 2011 Proceedings (Rosemary Signorelli and Mariano Coello [STARTTS])

Towards a systemic approach for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture and trauma survivors in exile: The experience of STARTTS in Australia
Jorge Aroche and Mariano Coello

The integration of Neurofeedback in therapeutic work with a torture survivor
Mirjana Askovic and Sebern Fisher

Neurofeedback training and child refugee trauma interventions in a primary school setting: A pilot study
Mirjana Askovic

Documentation and evaluation of service provision at Singleton Safe Haven
Jasmina Bajraktarevic-Hayward

Participation of refugee communities in STARTTS’ service planning, implementation and evaluation
Jasmina Bajraktarevic-Hayward

Social work with refugee survivors of torture and trauma
Robin Bowles
Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand, from SOCIAL WORK FIELDS OF PRACTICE. SECOND EDITION, ALSTON, M., AND MCKINNON, J. (EDS), 2005, Oxford University Press

‘Burning in the fire’ — the continuing saga: An analysis of group work with Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) holders in NSW
Pearl Fernandes

Group counselling program for traumatised children
Indira Haracic-Novic

Barriers to work for refugee women
Cherie Lamb

Talking about health: Innovations in health communications
Cherie Lamb

‘What future?’ A profile of refugees in the labour market
Cherie Lamb

The concept of self in different cultures
Nooria Mehraby

Initial assessment of a refugee child: Coping with loss
Nooria Mehraby

Psychotherapy with Islamic clients facing grief and loss
Nooria Mehraby

Suicide: Its pathway, perception and prevention amongst Muslims
Nooria Mehraby

Therapy with refugee children
Nooria Mehraby

Unaccompanied child refugees: A group experience
Nooria Mehraby

Working with refugee torture and trauma survivors from Afghanistan in Australia
Nooria Mehraby

Refugee women, sexual assault, and communities
Julie Savage and Rise Becker

Momartin, S., Steel, Z., Coello, M., Aroche, J., Silove, D.M., Brooks, R., (2006).
A comparison of the mental health of refugees with temporary versus permanent protection visas.

Momartin, S., Steel, Z., Coello, M., Aroche, J., Silove, D.M., Brooks, R., (2006).
Medical Journal of Australia.  185(7):357-361

May, S., Rapee, R., Coello, M., and Momartin, S.
(to be submitted to Transcultural Psychiatry). Mental health literacy among refugee communities: Differences between the Australian lay public and the Iraqi and Sudanese refugee communities.

Momartin, S. (2012).
Is ‘Complicated Grief’ a viable new diagnosis in DSM-5? Interface: Considerations of Difference. Psychotherapy in Australia. Vol. 18 (4).

Momartin, S., Steel, Z., Coello, M., Aroche, J., Silove, D.M., Brooks, R., (2006).
A comparison of the mental health of refugees with temporary versus permanent protection visas. Medical Journal of Australia.  185(7):357-361.

Steel, Z., Momartin, S., Silove, D., Coello, M., Aroche, J., & Tay, K. W. (2011).
Two year psychosocial and mental health outcomes for refugees subjected to restrictive or supportive immigration policies. Social Science and Medicine, 72(7), 1149 – 1156.

Momartin, S., Coello, M., (2006).
Self-harming Behaviour and Dissociation in Complex PTSD: Case study of a male tortured refugee. Torture. 16 (1);20-29.

Aroche, J., Coello, M. & Momartin, S. (2012).
Culture, Family & Social Networks: Ethno-cultural influences on recovery, reconnection and resettlement of refugee families. Volume 3, Chapter 10; In: Refugees Worldwide, Segal, U. & Elliot, D. (Editors).  Praeger Publishers Inc.; July 2012.

Aroche, J., Coello, M. & Momartin, S. (2012).
The search for solutions: Programs, services & interventions to facilitate resettlement and assist refugee families. Volume 4, Chapter 6;  In: Refugees Worldwide, Segal, U. & Elliot, D. (Editors).  Praeger Publishers Inc. ; July 2012.