Trauma has neurological, biological, psychological, spiritual, social and cultural impacts. Many survivors find talking about their abuse traumatic and distrust authority. Anyone working with survivors must be sensitive to the impacts of trauma and not do further harm. The trauma informed approach asks what has happened to someone, not what is wrong with them. A trauma-informed approach for Māori in particular would need to be supportive of whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori, or communities, consider intergenerational and historical trauma, and recognise and provide for a te ao Māori worldview and Māori healing concepts.
Trauma-informed care treats people with manaakitia kia tipu – nurturing of people so that they can prosper and grow. It includes treating people with atawhai, or kindness humanity, compassion, dignity, respect and generosity in a manner that upholds their mana. The quality of the relationship that a survivor has with those trying to help them is crucial to their healing – it can facilitate a feeling of safety and security and a survivor’s ability to have hope and trust.
Trauma-informed care also requires respect for the autonomy of survivors – including scope for survivors to choose their own pathway of utua kia ea. Survivors should have control over how, when, in what form, and to whom they disclose abuse. They should be empowered to make their own decisions about what works best for them in their healing. A trauma-informed approach to puretumu is collaborative decisions are made with a survivor and not for them.
Next: Obligations under te Tiriti o Waitangi