Community perspectives on delivering trauma-aware and culturally safe perinatal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents

Published:August 04, 2022DOI:



      Since colonisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced violence, loss of land, ongoing discrimination and increased exposure to traumatic events. These include adverse childhood experiences which can lead to complex trauma, and are associated with increased incidence of high-risk pregnancies, birth complications and emergence of post-traumatic symptoms during the perinatal period, potentially impacting parenting and leading to intergenerational trauma. The perinatal period offers unique opportunities for processing experiences of trauma and healing yet can also be a time when parents experience complex trauma-related distress. Therefore, it is essential that trauma-aware culturally safe perinatal care is accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents.


      This study aimed to understand community perspectives of what ‘trauma-aware culturally safe perinatal care’ would look like for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents.


      Data were collected during a workshop held with predominantly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander key stakeholders to co-design strategies to foster trauma-aware culturally safe perinatal care. Data were thematically analysed.


      Four overarching themes represent proposed goals for trauma-aware culturally safe care: Authentic partnerships that are nurtured and invested in to provide the foundations of care; a skilled workforce educated in trauma awareness; empowering and compassionate care for building trust; and safe and accessible environments to facilitate parent engagement.


      Provision of trauma-aware culturally safe care achieving these goals is likely to enable parents experiencing complex trauma to access appropriate support and care to foster healing in the critical perinatal period.


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