STARTTS is the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors. STARTTS is a specialist, non-profit organisation that for over 30 years has provided culturally relevant psychological treatment and support, and community interventions, to help people and communities heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma and rebuild their lives in Australia. STARTTS also fosters a positive recovery environment through the provision of training to services, advocacy and policy work.
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.