Being trauma informed takes the guesswork out of why children behave the way they do


Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson AM
Judy Atkinson_web
Wednesday 5 June 2019

Time: 9:15am – 10:00am

Room: Grand Ballroom

Keynote Address

Being trauma informed takes the guesswork out of why children behave the way they do

This presentation will open discussion about the need for all services to work together to meet the needs of children with trauma backgrounds. Children attend school up to six hours a day.  Children’s behaviour at school often results in suspension or expulsion.  The children’s behaviour however, is their language. We found that in schools, working to obtain a diagnosis was hard, but harder still was finding services that could respond to the needs of those children diagnosed with developmental-complex trauma. While there is an urgency for all services to become trauma informed, the greater need is to work across service systems with trauma specific skills to help heal trauma and hence create a better future for all our children.


Judy Atkinson identifies as a Jiman / Bundjalung (Aboriginal Australian) woman.  With a PhD from QUT, her primary academic and research focus is in the area of violence and relational trauma, and healing for Indigenous, and indeed all peoples. She was awarded the Carrick (Neville Bonner) Award in 2006 for her Innovative Curriculum Development and Teaching Practice, and in 2011 the Fritz Redlich award for Mental Health and Human Rights from the Harvard University Global Mental Health Trauma and Recovery program.

Her book:  Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines: The transgenerational effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia, was sub-listed for a human rights award.  Judy retired at the end of 2010, so she can focus on working with communities in Australia and Papua New Guinea in trauma informed and trauma specific educational – healing work, which she calls educaring.