According to Victim Services NSW website you are eligible to receive free counselling from an Approved Counsellor if you are psychologically, emotionally and/or have been physically injured:
- as a result of an act of violence (assault) in NSW; or
- as a result of witnessing an act of violence; or
- as a result of learning of the act of violence and you are the parent or guardian of a primary victim who was under the age of 18 years at the time of the act of violence; or
- preventing someone from committing an act of violence in NSW, or
- arresting someone who is committing, or has just committed an act of violence, or
- helping or rescuing someone against whom an act of violence is being committed, or has just been committed.
- Family members of homicide victims where the offence occurred in NSW. A family member is:
- the victim’s spouse
- the victim’s defacto spouse, or same sex partner who has lived with the victim for at least two years
- a parent, step-parent or guardian of the victim
- a child or step-child of the victim, or other child of whom the victim was the guardian
- a brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother or step-sister of the victim.
Victims of crime or witnesses to an act of violence can develop symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD and trauma can severly impact your quality of life and in some cases initiate thoughts of suicide too. In such a scenario, it is always better to seek professional help as evidence shows that psychological consultations can help restore normality in a victim’s life.
What is a trauma?
A trauma is an overbearing emotional response to a disturbing incident. Both adults and children can experience trauma that can cause temporary or permanent changes in a person’s psychological and physical responses to stressful situations. Traumas that generate from criminal cases are mostly unexpected situations that the victim finds it difficult to come to terms with. For this reason, it may be a long time before there is any final resolution of the disturbing sensations felt within the body and mind.
What are the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can be extremely disabling and damaging, particularly if the victim does not have proper social support that allows them to speak about their traumatic feelings and experiences. Some of the common symptoms of trauma are listed below:
- upsetting memories, flashbacks or dreams of the event?
- feeling physically and psychologically distressed when something reminds you of the event
- trouble remembering important parts of the event
- very negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world
- persistently blaming yourself or others for what happened
- persistently feeling negative, angry, guilty or ashamed
- feeling less interested in doing things you used to enjoy
- feeling cut off from others
- trouble feeling positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)
- difficulty sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)
- get easily angered or irritated
- engage in reckless or self-destructive behaviour
- trouble concentrating
- feeling constantly on guard or vigilant
- getting been easily startled
How can counselling help?
Evidence suggests that trauma and PTSD victims can return back to normal lifestyles after receiving psychological or a combination of psychological and psychiatric care. Therapies such as TF-CBT, EMDR, DBT which are offered by the psychologists at Potentialz Unlimited are effective in treatment of PTSD and trauma.