If you have witnessed or given assistance at the scene of a serious road incident, it is important to be aware of the range of feelings, thoughts and responses you may have. Individuals may have reactions that may be hard to manage and confusing for them and those that are close to them.
Common reactions include flashbacks, sleeplessness, uncomfortable physical sensations and symptoms, social withdrawal, irritability, and strong emotions such as anger or guilt – just to name a few.
These are all normal human responses to a traumatic event, and there is usually a natural recovery that occurs over time, however, for some people that can be a slow process and can take months or even years.
It is essential to seek support from family and friends who can listen without trying to fix it. If you find yourself alone, or your symptoms persist, it can be helpful to speak to a professional such as your GP, a counsellor, psychologist or a social worker.
We offer free state-wide professional counselling to anyone impacted by road trauma and are open Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. To make an appointment call 1300 367 797.
Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
Founded in 1935, Slater and Gordon is committed to providing access to justice and achieving the best outcomes for clients, including those who have lost loved ones to road trauma. RTSSV CEO, Bernadette Nugent, said she was delighted to welcome Slater and Gordon to the RTSSV community.
“The partnership will help RTSSV continue to provide our vital services, including our free counselling, information and support for every Victorian impacted by road trauma,” Ms Nugent said.
“There are people in our midst who live with the reality of road trauma every day, be they bereaved family members and friends, the injured, drivers involved in road crashes, emergency service workers and witnesses.
“The road toll reaches far beyond the number of deaths and injuries counted each year.”
Partnering with Slater and Gordon and other law firms assists RTSSV financially and, most importantly, gives our clients the opportunity, if needed, to source appropriate legal assistance and support.
Slater and Gordon CEO, John Somerville, said the firm was supportive of the important work RTSSV does. Mr Somerville said their motor vehicle accident lawyers often heard firsthand about the life-changing effect road trauma has on their clients’ lives, and on that of their loved ones.
“The injured people we work with are going through some of the most challenging times in their lives after experiencing a road trauma,” Mr Somerville said.
“When they reach out to us, they know they will receive the care and support they need from highly experienced teams who specialise in personal injury law.”
Why we partner with law firms
Being involved in a transport incident may be very distressing, and many people feel overwhelmed by everything that is happening.
There may be legal matters that need to be addressed, such as wills, probate, accessing superannuation and making a Transport Accident Commission (TAC) claim.
In Victoria, the TAC is the Victorian no-fault accident compensation scheme. When drivers register a vehicle, they take out insurance that covers you in a transport accident for medical and rehabilitation costs and, in some instances, income support.
We find that some people have a better experience and achieve the best possible outcome if they get appropriate legal support promptly.
Our legal partners
Four law firms support our organisation by providing general advice about legal issues that affect people impacted by road trauma and give $10,000 to our counselling, support and advocacy services.
Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), with the support of the TAC, launched a new campaign, left unfinished this week.
left unfinished features seven ordinary personal items belonging to someone whose life was either tragically lost, or forever changed through road trauma. Each item represents a chapter in a book that will never be written – a story left unfinished.
A big thank you to our storytellers, Kerry Ann, Josie, Claire, Melinda, Alex, Sally and Deb. We also want to thank the TAC and the Taboo Group for bringing the campaign together.
The campaign uses an interactive exhibition to pay tribute to the people involved, their friends and families. It also serves as a reminder to all Victorians to never take our lives for granted when we get behind the wheel.
The left unfinished campaign forms part of RTSSV’s ‘Shine a Light on Road Safety’ week. It also coincides with National Road Safety Week. Both events run from 15 – 22 November 2020.
The exhibition will be in the Melbourne Museum forecourt (Museum Plaza) until 22 November 2020. To see the virtual experience, watch the left unfinished videos or read their stories, click here.
You are not alone
We understand that people will respond to the campaign in their own way. We wanted to let you know about Left unfinished and offer our support if you need it. Our counselling services are free and unlimited, call 1300 367 797 to book an appointment.
This year Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) commemorates 20 years of our Time for Remembering ceremony, and, sadly, but understandably, Rev. Dr Andy Calder has decided to step down.
Andy sustained serious injuries in a road incident in 1986 and his recovery in rehab spanned more than three years.
In 1999 at Jeanette Suhr’s OAM invitation, Andy organised a gathering of those bereaved and injured from road trauma.
Following that in 2001, Andy instigated the first Time for Remembering ceremony which combined speeches held at the City Square, with the congregation then walking their way to St Paul’s Cathedral.
In the 20 years since, most of the ceremonies have been held in Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, and Andy has been convenor of the planning committees for what is now a regular and significant event in the organisation’s calendar.
Andy was a Board member from 1997 – 2010, Chairman for two terms and became a Life Member in 2010.
Evolving from Time for Remembering it became apparent there was a need for a state-wide memorial to recognise the impact of road trauma in Victoria. In 2005 Andy was the recipient of an RACV Sir Edmund Herring Study Grant to investigate road trauma memorials in the UK. 13 years ago, along with the Board, Andy attracted government support and funding. He has persisted through many consultations and setbacks to finally see the development of the memorial constructed earlier this year in Geelong called ‘Solace’. This project was supported by the Transport Accident Commission, City of Greater Geelong, and was developed in partnership with RTSSV and the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
On behalf of RTSSV and our community, we would like to thank you, Andy, for all your contributions. You have been an integral part of the organisation, especially Time for Remembering, and we are very grateful for your input and dedication. Although you will no longer be leading this event, we sincerely hope that you will stay connected.
Solace is Victoria’s first-ever state-wide road trauma memorial aimed at giving people a space to reflect on the impact of road trauma and remember those who have lost their lives or been seriously injured on our roads.
Located in Geelong, Victoria, the north-facing waterfront location gives uninterrupted views of Corio Bay from its site on Hearne Pde, Eastern Beach. It has been a partnership between the TAC, Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), City of Greater Geelong, and the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia.
The memorial is a piece of public art created by Ocean Grove artist, Don Walters.
Using the cyclical moon phases to represent the experience of grief, Solace takes the lunar phase as a metaphor for the constantly changing range of emotions those experiencing loss through road trauma. The semi-circular shape and space within the structure also encourages visitors to experience and ‘move through’ the space.
The sculptural aspect of Solace is in seven parts made of a combination of stainless steel and stone. A stainless steel rim encloses and holds the stone that is shaped into segments that represent phases of the moon’s cycle.
Our volunteer speaker, Kajol Eagle, has overcome more than most – adopted from an orphanage, endured 20 brain surgeries and a life-threatening road incident – but it’s her acts of kindness that shine bright.
When Kajol Eagle took out a Warrnambool youth achievement award for kindness, resilience and compassion, she lived up to the title by passing on her $200 prize to others in need.
Last week she handed over the cheque to Warrnambool Foodshare, but in her 26 years, Kajol has overcome more than most. You can read more of her story in a recent article in the Warrnambool Standard.
Fantastic recognition for such an inspiring person, well done Kajol, and thank you.
A road safety ambassador for Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) for more than 15 years, Kerryann never thought she would be extending her support globally.
Having personally experienced road trauma, Kerryann dedicates her time to help others get through difficult moments in life. Her husband fell asleep at the wheel due to fatigue on a camping trip, and tragically lost his life and also that of their daughter. Kerryann was seriously injured and spent many months recovering both physically and mentally.
Kerryann found love again and later had a beautiful son with her second husband, who sadly passed away from cancer.
Navigating through her own journey experiencing tragic loss, Kerryann is again dealing with life’s challenges, closing her bookshop business due to the uncertain COVID-19 environment.
It is a reminder that crisis can happen at any time, and coming together is key to getting through it.
In between finding creative ways to keep her now 15-year-old son entertained in isolation, Kerryann received a message on Facebook, and she felt a need to open it. The message was from a young girl in India who was grieving after losing her brother on our roads who had been studying in Melbourne.
A tragic road incident caused by fatigue, this was devastating news for his family back in India as well as Camo, his beloved rescue dog that kept him company while studying.
The sister found Kerryann through her story on the RTSSV website and expressed her concern about finding Camo a home, now alone and at risk of being a lost dog once again.
As Kerryann already understood how fatigue and the effect of road trauma hits a family, she kindly opened her heart and home to this grieving family on the other side of the world to care for and adopt Camo.
Camo took some time settling in his new home, but he soon became Kai’s (Kerryann’s son) best friend, and it’s now hard to separate the two!
The family in India sent over a gift and a note of appreciation for holding Camo’s paw through his grief. The note mentioned that her brother is smiling from heaven, knowing that his beloved dog is being cared for. Giving comfort to his family in this time of loss showed kindness, love and a deep connection to both families touched by the effects of fatigue on the road.
We all have a responsibility to be safe on our roads to ensure others get home safely.
Thank you Kerryann and the family in India for sharing your story.
National Volunteer Week, is a perfect opportunity for us to acknowledge the work our volunteers do for Road Trauma Support Services Victoria every day and recognise their contribution, during what has been a challenging year for everyone.
In their roles as volunteers, whether it is speaking in our education programs, talking to the media, or working in the office helping us with day-to-day activities, we truly appreciate the time our volunteers give us. Their willingness to share themselves and their stories of road trauma are changing lives and communities.
We were founded based on people supporting each other and making a difference. The impact we have on the Victorian community is significant because of our volunteers.
Thank you to every one of our volunteers for contributing to raising community awareness about the devastating impact of road trauma and working with us to make a difference.
This year our Shine a Light on Road Safety was a little different, but it is even more important than ever to stay connected and support each other. Below are video highlights of the last six years of Shine a Light on Road Safety and road safety wishes from our supporters.
Our people shining a light on road safety
Bernadette Nugent, CEO, Road Trauma Support Services Victoria, talks about shining a light on road safety
Highlights from our Shine a Light on Road Safety campaign since 2014
Bee Safe our special buzzy bee has a road safety message for our community
Our supporters shining a light on road safety
A message of support from the Minister for Roads, Road Safety and TAC, Jaala Pulford, Assistant Commissioner Victoria Police Road Policing, Libby Murphy, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) CEO, Joe Calafiore, and our CEO Bernadette Nugent.
Our sponsors shining a light on road safety
Katie Minogue, from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers talks about shining a light on road safety
Henry Carus, from Henry Carus Lawyers talks about the supporting the campaign
Zoe Zaparus, from Zaparus Lawyers talks about supporting the walk