To: Labor MP for Social Services,The Hon Amanda Rishworth

Make Centrelink a “trauma informed” service.

People on income support who have suffered trauma face significant challenges to obtain assistance that is compassionate and sensitive to their needs. Instead, they face obstacles via poorly trained front counter staff and dispassionate third party contracted call centre providers, all based on “bottom line” funding and resourcing levels and viewed through the punitive filter of “mutual obligation”. Centrelink needs to review their staff training policies so that it can be a “trauma informed” service to honour the Department of Social Services own Access & Equity policy.

Why is this important?

There is a tendency to use the word victim as though it is a person's choice. People who find themselves on income support are generally in this unwilling position through various circumstances beyond their control, and in the main would rather be independent as opposed to a burden on society.

If you ask yourself what story is really behind the person begging for change at your supermarket, what might come to mind?

Do you consider

Domestic Violence?

Mental Health challenges?

Childhood sexual assault?

Are they a descendant of Australia's stolen generations?

Marginalised due to ethnicity?

A refugee?

With all that we now understand regarding mental health and trauma, it's time to implement it where it can make the greatest impact.

As an educated and privileged nation, we need to take responsibility for those most vulnerable and create genuine compassionate revisions to the services that are here to assist.

As an example, NSW Health has available information on their website about Trauma Informed services detailing considerations and responsible processes for dealing with clients who have suffered trauma, along with the principles of Mental Health Human Rights.

Services Australia and Centrelink need to take a health based approach in their delivery of human services, to honour and properly reflect the Department of Social Services own Access & Equity policy.

We need to remind ourselves we do not exist on a level playing field as far as our life experiences. The rhetoric of equal opportunity doesn't apply to those handicapped by misfortune of their circumstances.

How it will be delivered

Social Media, Email, SMS