Child abuse GP guidelines to save lives

Given that Australia’s childhood trauma victims number in the millions, with high rates of physical and mental illness and a greater propensity to suicide, the RACGP-endorsed guidelines may help save lives, according to advocates.

Dr Cathy Kezelman, president of Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), said there was now a wealth of research in the area but “somehow it hasn’t really informed primary practice”.

The ASCA-developed Practice Guidelines for Treating Complex Trauma explain clinical work in the field as well as what the organisation calls trauma-informed practice.

“It’s about being sensitive to the possibility of trauma and minimising the possibility of re-traumatising people,” Dr Kezelman said. 

“Until you have it on the radar, you are not going to identify the possibility that unresolved trauma is