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2018 APS Congress

The 2018 APS Congress will be held in Sydney from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 September 2018


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Tragic events and community violence

Tragic accidents, public shootings, hate crimes, terrorist threats, violent demonstrations, and other community disturbance can be very upsetting.

The incident itself, as well as the fear of one happening, can cause considerable distress and intrude into daily life.

Key points

  • Tragedies and community violence occur for many reasons
  • Many people feel concerned about what they see as increasing levels of violence in society
  • Taking action, however small, to promote peace may be helpful to manage the distress and helplessness associated with violence and conflict
  • Action may be in the form of learning how to respond constructively to such events, by developing conflict resolution skills, or through joining a group, or helping others.

Seeking help

If you feel unable to cope following a tragic event or community violence, a psychologist may be able to help. A psychologist is trained to help people better understand and manage their responses to an incident by developing effective coping strategies and techniques.

Psychologists usually see clients individually, but can also include family members to support treatment where appropriate. Psychologists sometimes offer group therapy, involving a small number of people with similar issues.

If you are referred to a psychologist by your GP, you might be eligible for a Medicare rebate. Ask your psychologist or GP for details.

There are number of ways to access a psychologist. You can:

  • use the Australia-wide Find A PsychologistTM directory or call 1800 333 497
  • ask your GP or another health professional to refer you.
Strategies for coping with community violence

Information sheet to help individuals to cope with distressing feelings following community violence, and find ways to respond constructively to these events

Helping children cope after tragic events: Information for parents, caregivers and teachers

Information sheet with helpful tips for parents, caregivers and teachers for helping children and young people to cope following tragedies

Helping children cope after community violence: Information for parents, caregivers and teachers

Information sheet with helpful resources for parents, caregivers and teachers for assisting children and young people to cope following community violence such as public shootings, hate crimes etc

Communicating about violence

Information sheet about how people concerned about violence at all levels of society can communicate with others to find solutions to family violence, terrorism, war 

Promoting peace: Information for the community

Ten ways to promote peace and community belonging which include developing your understanding of the frames of mind that promote conflict and violence against another group,and recognising that social inequalities are unjust and fuel misery.

Responding constructively to disaster, tragedy or injustice

This information sheet provides a series of tips for how to respond constructively to disaster, tragedy or injustice. Tips include challenging stereotypes and talking about how to treat others

Media portrayals of crime

Certain crimes, such as violent crimes, crimes by young people and those with a mental illness, are over-reported on TV, in print and online. This information sheet describes what parents, educators, journalists and the public can do.