Supporting children after natural and human-induced disasters

Supporting children after natural and human-induced disasters

Nicola Palfrey and Michelle Roberts

This webinar discussed how practitioners can help children and families navigate the different stages of community trauma.

A family sitting on the grass in the park

This webinar was held on Wednesday 7 August 2019.

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are available under Event Resources on this page. 

A list of resources related to this topic is available on our post-webinar forum.

Like individuals, communities can experience trauma in the aftermath of natural or human-induced disaster. In Australia, climate change, family and community violence and rural disadvantage may increase the frequency and impact of traumatic events for communities.

When a community mobilises to recover from the effects of trauma, it is important not to overlook the specific needs of children. Children depend on the adults around them for safety and security. In the event of a disaster, they will need reassurance, care and opportunities to share their stories. This webinar provided a starting point for practitioners to help children and families navigate the different stages of a disaster.

This webinar described the specific interventions that cater for the developmental needs of children recovering from community trauma. It presented findings from research on what helps children to recover, and provide case studies from the field.

This webinar supports practitioners to:

  • prepare children and their families practically and psychologically for a disaster
  • interact with children during an event in a way that may enhance their resilience and recovery
  • support children and their families immediately after an event as they re-establish a sense of safety
  • support children and their families in the ongoing recovery process
  • understand the importance of self-care during and after a traumatic event
  • identify emotional and behavioural difficulties in children that may indicate that ongoing, specialised support is required.

This webinar is co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds in a series focusing on children’s mental health. They are working together as part of the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

Emerging Minds logo


Featured image: © GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

About the presenters

Nicola Palfrey

Nicola is a clinical psychologist and researcher who has worked extensively with children, adolescents and adults who have experienced significant adversity and trauma. She is responsible for leading the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health's approach to trauma, grief and loss. In her current role as Director of the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Grief and Loss Network at the ANU, Nicola is responsible for developing and delivering resources, training and interventions based on the latest evidence to support individuals and families affected by adversity and trauma.

Michelle Roberts

Michelle Roberts is a psychologist and expert in the areas of child and adolescent trauma, loss and grief, and children’s disaster recovery. She has decades of experience as an educator and psychologist supporting school communities.

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