26 April 2018

Diversity in Disaster Conference

Earlier this month, team members from the National Workforce Centre attended the Diversity in Disaster conference in Melbourne to gather some insights into the multitude of workforces involved in the preparedness, rescue and recovery sector around community trauma events. It was a fascinating few days hearing from first responders, academics, artists, all speaking about how to best meet the needs of societies’ vulnerable and diverse members in times of emergency.

Prof. Kevin Ronan, Prof Lisa Gibbs and Michelle Roberts held a fantastic session on the needs of children and directly addressed the question of whether we should speak to children about disasters. The answer, of course, was a resounding yes. Like all adversities children need the adults around them to communicate clearly, with developmentally appropriate messages about what is going on, and what may happen. This allows children to ask questions, contribute to their own wellbeing and increases the likelihood that they will be OK even if they have to face very frightening circumstances. Not speaking to them about events leaves them on their own to try and manage their own worries and fears, and misses an opportunity for developing further connection and security.

The National Workforce Centre is excited to contribute to this space as they work toward developing a central hub of resources on supporting children and communities prepare for, and respond to occurrences of community trauma. This will build on the work already done with the e-learning resource ‘Trauma and the Child’.