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NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Events in Christchurch – Jorge Aroche, CEO STARTTS

Dealing with the horror and senseless injustice of events such as yesterday’s terror attack in Christchurch is difficult for all of us. Feeling upset by such events is in the nature of being human, it is entirely normal, and part and parcel of being a compassionate person.

For some of us, the distress may reach uncomfortable levels, may involve overwhelming emotions of anger, sadness and/or fear, and may even begin to affect our basic functions and routines, such as sleep, appetite and our ability to relax and enjoy things we usually enjoy. If this becomes the case for you it is important that you seek help, from organisations such as STARTTS or from your GP.

Prevention is always best. It is important, therefore, that at times of stress we take the time to talk to other people, avoid bottling up our feelings, and follow the basic rules of sleep hygiene, and in particular, avoid watching unnecessarily explicit accounts of the distressing events.

In the case of the Christchurch attack, this particularly applies to the live-streamed video of the attack. The object of making this available online by the attacker was to terrorize and spread fear and distress. Please try to avoid it at all costs.

Supporting others at this time is important, but may be challenging, particularly with children and adolescents that are close to us.

Always remember that distress about horrific events is a common reaction and part of being human. This applies to you and your loved ones. If you need support supporting please seek help from those you trust, spiritual and religious leaders, or health professionals.

Thanks for all your work in formulating a response to these tragic events.


Jorge Aroche


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