Element 1.4

The impact of refugee's experiences of torture and trauma on settlement in Australia.


Facilitation Notes


This Element focuses on how refugee experiences of torture and trauma can affect the general health and well-being of individuals from before they arrive and continuing into their settlement. Past experiences can have a lasting influence on people's perceptions of the world and strong negative experiences can shake an individual's core underlying principles, morals and beliefs. These experiences, although hard, often leave individuals with a strong sense of self and improve their resilience beyond which they ever felt previously possible.

Previous Knowledge

It is recommended that Elements 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 are undertaken prior to this Element.
This Element is confrontational and needs to be managed carefully and sensitively.
This element, along with Element 1.3, is considered essential for the development of core competencies.

Range statement

  • Refugee experiences of torture and trauma affect them in different ways. Not all responses are the same.
  • Refugee experiences of torture and trauma may affect a person physically, psychologically, socially and emotionally.
  • Physical symptoms of torture and trauma may be exacerbated by psychological impacts.
  • There are different definitions and understandings of the experience of torture and trauma. Some refugees may not describe their experience in these terms, even though the United Nations definition indicates that the experience was one of torture or trauma.
  • Not all the effects of torture and trauma are negative. Using a strengths based approach emphasises the skills refugees possess.
  • The effects of torture and trauma can be added to by the encounters experienced in Australia. It is, therefore, not something that ‘happened in the past' but may be compounded by day to day life in Australia.

Performance Criteria

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify some of experiences that refugees may have encountered prior to their arrival in Australia, their possible impacts on behaviour and ways in which service providers might modify their service to enhance access.
  • To consider the different meaning of ‘health' to each and every one of us as individuals
  • To consider how our experiences influence our beliefs.
  • To consider the psychological impacts of torture and trauma
  • To practise special ways to respond to refugee experiences and to identify challenges in working in these ways
  • To recognise the strengths of refugees, as well as their trauma.

Torture and Trauma Agencies in each state and territory provide regular training programs for service providers. It is recommended that you contact your state/territory agency to discuss your training needs in relation to this element.

Contact details for each agency are below:

Agency Contact Details

To view Units 2,3 and 4 fully you need register with Good Food for New Arrivals on our registration page.