The Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future: Cultural and emotional safety framework

Yvonne Clark, Graham Gee, Naomi Ralph, Caroline Atkinson, Stephanie Brown, Karen Glover, Helen McLachlan, Deidre Gartland, Tanja Hirvonen, Shawana Andrews, Catherine Chamberlain, The Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future Investigators Group, The Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future Co-Design Group


The Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future (HPNF) research project aims to co-design perinatal awareness, recognition, assessment, and support strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents who have experienced childhood complex trauma.

Safety is essential for working in and collaborating with others in the context of complex trauma. Therefore, the purpose of this framework is to
• provide a guiding document for emotional and cultural safety protocols;
• identify, document, and synthesise the existing safety aspects within the HPNF project; and
• foster opportunities for cultural exchange.

Utilising a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) approach, elements of this framework are drawn from the literature; HPNF protocols; investigator expertise, consultation, and feedback from workshops. Various themes emerged about safety that include connectivity, therapeutic support, communication, reciprocity, flexibility, recognising expertise, and governance. The application of these safety themes is discussed in relation to four main groups of people impacted by the HPNF project: parents; service providers; project staff, investigators, and stakeholders; and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This framework is dynamic, requiring discussion, reflection, and review to continue to forge a framework to foster safety to address the legacy of complex trauma.

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