National Legal Aid has produced a Trauma-Informed Organisational Toolkit to guide the legal assistance sector in trauma-informed service design.
The toolkit is part of the With You project, a training package for rights-based legal services to help people experiencing distress, poor mental health or suicidality.
It was created using best practice in trauma-informed service delivery from 40 services around Australia. It considered insights from clients with lived experience, their carers and families; sector leaders; frontline lawyers, allied professionals; legal support staff; decision-makers and researchers.
With You Project Manager Jennifer Chen said trauma was an everyday reality for most clients in the legal assistance sector.
“If we are to deliver effective services, we need to able to recognise and respond to clients with trauma histories,” Ms Chen said.
“This means understanding what a trauma response can look like; how it can impact memory and communication; providing legal advice in a way that can be heard, and building trust with our clients it has been undermined by a trauma history.”
With You will also deliver training for the legal assistance sector across the country early next year.
The training and toolkit are tailored to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Community Legal Centres, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, and Legal Aid Commissions.
Access the toolkit here.