Helping when someone you know has experienced road trauma

The impact of a traumatic event affects individuals in a variety of ways. Some of the symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage. If someone you care about is experiencing the after-effects of trauma, there are some things you can do to help.

Spending time with them will help them to stay connected. This is extremely important and aids in their recovery.

Listening without offering advice. Allow the person to talk about how they feel. Feelings are natural and normal.

Resist the urge to “fix it”.

Recovery takes time and offering a safe place for them to express how they feel can really help their recovery process.

Offer reassurance that they are safe. Trauma undermines our ability to feel safe in the world.

Encourage the person to ask for help and support. Where possible, offer practical assistance with day-to-day tasks such as cooking or picking up children.

There is no set time for the recovery of trauma. There is usually a natural recovery that occurs after trauma. For some people that can be a slow process and can take months or even years.

First on scene and witnesses of road trauma

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 important to seek support from family and friends who are able to 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.

Michael Lombard Honorary Life Membership

As a lawyer working with people who had sustained terrible and often lifelong injuries in road crashes, Michael identified the need for people to be emotionally supported in their journeys of grief and trauma.

During his involvement with, and participation in the initial committee which was to become Road Trauma Support Team, he offered his expertise in law to assist the program in its early incarnation. Hence the Befriender Program, and ultimately Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) was born.

He dedicated the following decade to the fledgling committee and organization, ensuring its financial survival. Of particular note was his participation in the Rose Weekend, a fundraising initiative that was instrumental in the early successes of the organisation. Later his astute business acumen and savvy professional connections were once again instrumental in creating a philosophically aligned relationship with the Transport Accident Commission, a relationship that continues 19 years after inception.

His support of our work has, as recently as this year, continued to provide opportunities for us, ultimately for the benefit of Victorians impacted by road trauma.

And so, after 24 years of friendship, support, guidance and dogged determination, it is our privilege and pleasure to admit Michael Lombard (pictured below with CEO, Cameron Sinclair) to Honorary Life Membership with RTSSV.

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Chris and Kate Parkin Honorary Life Membership

Commencing their journey with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) in 2003 when, three years after commencing their careers as paramedics with Ambulance Victoria (then Metropolitan Ambulance Service), they responded to an article calling for volunteer speakers in our Road Trauma Awareness Seminar program.

During their early careers, they had witnessed road trauma on many occasions and had key learnings they wanted to share to make a positive difference to the attitudes and behaviours of drivers charged with driving offences. In their words, they learned that:

  • Road trauma is mostly avoidable
  • Road trauma incidents are largely due to people’s poor choices
  • That the devastation road trauma causes also has impacts on our emergency services personnel and first responders

Their experiences in assisting people directly impacted by road trauma have informed their work with RTSSV and their innate generosity and compassion led them to continue to both positively influence driver behaviour, and also offer much needed and invaluable peer support to other volunteer speakers who are also impacted by road trauma.

Whilst they have stated in this year’s annual report that they are inspired by the resilience and courage of our volunteer speakers, it is us who are inspired by their generosity and commitment since 2004 to our organisation and road safety.

It is our privilege and pleasure to admit RTSSV’s first-ever husband and wife team to Honorary Life Membership, Kate Drain-Parkin and Chris Parkin (pictured below with CEO, Cameron Sinclair).

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Education team meeting 2018

On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 of July, we held our state education team weekend at the Iluka Retreat and Camp, Red Hill South.

Thank you to a great team for making the weekend a great success.

Melton Community Road Safety Forum

Thursday 30 August 2018 starting at 6:15 pm – 9.00 pm
31 McKenzie Street, Melton

Are you a young adult driver or the parent of a young adult driver? Don’t miss this FREE forum and your chance to improve your understanding of road safety.

Learn more about road rules and the effects of road trauma including serious injury and fatal collisions. The forum aims to teach residents more about road rules and the effects of road trauma. Guest speakers will share insights into their experiences of dealing with the effects of road collisions. The event will have guest speakers, brochures and showbags with educational material, providing plenty of information on road safety.

All residents are encouraged to attend, especially teenage drivers and their parents.

You can register or find out more information here>> https://bit.ly/2v8YVfB

 

Teenage Road Information Program

7pm Wednesday 1 August 2018
Heritage Funeral Home
1414 Healesville KooWeeRup Road 
Woori Yallock
Doors will be open from 6.30pm onwards.

The presentation provides an in-depth insight into what happens in a road crash and the resulting road trauma. The impacts are real and devastating for emergency services, witnesses, work colleagues, friends and family members.

This program is for young people learning to drive, those who are on their P’s or those who have been driving for years.

Please come and support this important community initiative from the Yarra Valley Emergency Services who would rather meet you at a presentation than meet you at a crash.

Find out more information here>> Yarra Valley TRIP

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National Volunteers’ Week – thank you

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Today marks the commencement of National Volunteers’ Week and it is on the back of extraordinary efforts of our volunteers, that Road Trauma Support Services Victoria came to life back in 1994. In 2018, the vast majority of our workforce is unpaid but the passion of our people to ‘reduce the impact and incidence of road trauma’ is as strong as ever.

Our volunteers are remarkable, whether they are personally impacted by road trauma or thrust towards it by virtue of their work, their ability to create meaning and purpose from the unspeakable is at times, unfathomable. In every instance, your efforts make a difference to our community.

To our volunteers, you are the backbone of our organisation, you are the voices of reason and compassion, you give us the ability to continue. Thank you is humble and may seem inadequate, but we offer you our gratitude and admiration, for, without you, we would be very different.

You are brave, you are resilient, you are compassionate, you are generous, THANK YOU.

Workplace Health & Safety Show

Join us at the Workplace Health & Safety Show at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 23-24 May 2018. We will be at stand D07, make sure you drop past to say hello.

An exciting addition to the safety industry event landscape, the Show is the official exhibition of the #SAFETYSCAPE Convention, a week-long program of events, workshops, forums, seminars and conferences hosted by the Safety Institute of Australia.

The Workplace Health & Safety Show will present safety professionals with the broadest range of offerings under the one roof where they can compare, buy and stay updated on the latest products and policies.

The Workplace Health & Safety Show is a must-attend event for all safety professionals from a range of industries including manufacturing, building/construction, mining, councils/local government, hospitals, transport and more.

To find out more, visit www.whsshow.com.au

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Magistrates’ Court Open Day

Join us at the Magistrates’ Court Open Day on Saturday 19 May, Karen Robinson, our North West Metro Regional Coordinator and volunteer speaker will share her road trauma story, from 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm.

Karen shares her story in the hope that people will think about their own risky driving behaviour and become more responsible, safer drivers – to help save lives, reduce serious injury and avoid a possible jail sentence.

Make sure you visit our information stand on the day.

Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, 233 William Street, Melbourne. #LawWeek

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