The Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS)
The Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS) has a proud history of serving humanitarian entrants and refugees settling in WA since 1992.
ASeTTS provides services to people who are humanitarian entrants or are from a refugee type background and who have experienced torture or trauma in their country of origin, during their flight to Australia, or while in detention.
Our FASSTT Network Partners
We continue to collaborate with, and learn from, our FASSTT (The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma) partners to ensure innovative evidence-based services that diminish the impact of torture and trauma on survivors and enhance their opportunities to rebuild productive and meaningful lives.
FASSTT Network member agencies include:
- Companion House – ACT
- Foundation House – Victoria
- Melaleuca Refugee Centre – NT
- Phoenix Centre – Tasmania
- Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) – Queensland
- Service for the Treatment & Rehabilitation of Torture & Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) – NSW
- Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service (STTARS) – SA
United Voices (UV)
In 2001 ASeTTS established a client reference group, which was later renamed ‘United Voices (UV)’. The group was born out of the recognition that ASeTTS needed to listen to the voices of their clients in order to improve and maintain the relevance of its services.
UV was modelled on similar groups within the mental health sector. The group can have a maximum 12 members. UV’s input into the life of ASeTTS – its services, policies, strategies and procedures – is central to fulfilling its desired role as a client reference group.
UV is represented on the ASeTTS board with full voting rights. UV members get involved with the planning and implementation of various ASeTTS activities. ASeTTS invests in the learning, development and mentoring of UV members and provides access to opportunities such as ASeTTS training. UV members are also investing their time and energy into ASeTTS.
If you are interested in joining United Voices please contact; Chairperson United Voices by email here or Community Development Coordinator on 92272726. Please refer to the link for more information.
ASeTTS provides holistic services for refugee survivors of torture and trauma to rebuild their lives.
Is for a more peaceful and just world where human rights are recognised, violations of human rights are challenged, and torture and trauma survivors are supported.
ASeTTS aspires to provide holistic services that assist refugee survivors of torture and trauma to rebuild their lives.
ASeTTS place importance on:
- Client Focus
Aims of ASeTTS
The objectives of ASeTTS as described by our constitution may be summarised as:
To establish, develop and maintain services:
Which respond to the specific cultural and spiritual needs, as well as the gender-related, linguistic and age specific needs of torture and trauma survivors (who are often refugees and may be from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations) and their families living in Australia;
- Which facilitate the ability of torture and trauma survivors to heal themselves;
- Which promote overall well-being of all torture and trauma survivors in whatever way is appropriate to the individuals concerned;
- Of a professional standard which are affordable and accessible to all torture and trauma survivors and their families regardless of age, sex, race, religion, political beliefs or lifestyle;
- Guided by the expressed needs of the service users arising out of the constitution as identified by the service users themselves and developed with input from those service users.
To carry out training, advocacy, and awareness raising and in doing so:
- Work with other organisations to carry out and encourage research and collect information, based on sound ethical guidelines, about the needs of torture and trauma survivors and their families in the community
- Educate, train and sensitise service providers and promote public awareness on the needs of and difficulties experienced by torture and trauma survivors and their families;
- Inform and to reinforce the rights of the service users as members of Australian society;
- Act as a human and material resource.
ASeTTS Clients are people living in WA who were tortured or traumatised in their country of origin or whilst fleeing that country. It is estimated that state sanctioned violence occurs in over 100 countries. This experience is not confined to adults, with many child and adolescent refugees having witnessed horrific events and suffered the effects of dislocation and deprivation. Fear does not end with arrival in a safe country.
Trauma has far reaching effects – like an earthquake, it can shake the very foundations of our client’s lives. The impact can disrupt or damage the relationships that individuals have established with partners, parents, children, family and friends. It can change the way clients feel about themselves and others. In many cases, traumatic events can be internalised as ongoing anxiety and accompanied by unresolved grief and depression. For some survivors, assumptions that are central to human existence, such as trust, have been challenged by their experiences.
In addition to the above, a new arrival under the humanitarian program is faced with the daunting task of settling in a new country and dealing with the challenges of learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, arranging housing, employment and children’s schooling often without a support network of family and friends.
Our clients come from a range of countries and ethnic backgrounds and present with a variety of symptoms and issues. The effects of trauma are not always the same, even for those who have shared the same experiences. We are all individuals and therefore unique in many aspects. Our reactions and the processes we engage with towards healing are as unique as we are. ASeTTS endeavours to work alongside clients as they seek to find happiness and peace in their lives
ASeTTS Board, staff and volunteers are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds.
Ms. Gail Green – Board Chairperson
Ms. Gail Green is a Social Worker with over 40 years’ experience. She has specialised in trauma work for 20 years and has published in the Australian Social Work Journal and in several other magazines. Gail has a good understanding of governance issues, seeking grant funding and operating funding budgets. Her work as a counsellor, therapist and supervisor of staff has provided her with a good working knowledge of ethical and moral challenges in the field.
Mr. Tony McRae – Board Deputy Chairperson
Mr. Tony McRae has had more than 30 years’ experience in public policy and community development. His leadership roles have included being a Member of Parliament; CEO, Company Secretary and Board Member of non-profit companies and community organisations; and a consultant and business adviser to the for-profit sector. He has been a member and/or supporter of ASeTTS for many years and looks forward to contributing to its continuing development as a member-based service organisation.
Ms. Ann Nyaga – Board Secretary
Ms. Ann Nyaga came to Australia from Kenya in 2003. She is a resourceful Clinical Educator with a Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Clinical Nursing) together with ten years’ experience in delivery quality patient care. Ann was nominated for the WA Young Achievers Award in 2017 for her dedication to the nursing profession. Ann has a history of serving and growing the community, including mentoring and coaching youth.
Mr. Vince Ianni – Board Treasurer
Mr. Vince Ianni is a Chief Financial Officer and Director of Corporate Services with over 30 years’ experience in finance and corporate sector. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is an associate member of the Society of Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) in Australia. Vince’s financial and corporate knowledge and experience is of benefit to the ASeTTS Board, as it strives to improve governance, financial management and the delivery of patient care to its clients.
Ms. Louise Ford – Board Director
Ms. Louise Ford was previously employed by ASeTTS between 2007 and 2011, as a Settlement Grants Program case worker, and later became the ASeTTS Coordinator of Training and Education Program. Louise has Board member experience, a long history of supporting refugees and migrants in a voluntary capacity, a strong network in the service provision sector, a passion for the work ASeTTS undertakes and experience in governance, policies / procedures and compliance.
Ms. Margaret Auma-Okumu – Board Director
Ms. Margaret Auma-Okumu has been a volunteer with ASeTTS previously and is committed to ensuring clients’ needs are met through contribution in enhancing their wellbeing. Margaret brings governance, coordination and project support skills to the Board.
Mr. Francis Lynch – Board Director
Mr. Francis Lynch is a trained Social Worker and has worked in the community services sector for over 30 years. Francis has been actively involved in lobbying and advocacy on a number of social justice matters over the years working in the out of care and family services space. Francis brings extensive Board and governance experience.
Ms. Merissa Van Der Linden – CEO
Ms. Merissa Van Der Linden joined ASeTTS on Monday 6 July 2020. Merissa has a strong background in human services and human rights, with hands-on and leadership roles in a range of state and national organisations, including Community Vision Inc WA, the WA Disability Services Commission, National Disability Services WA and most recently at Activ WA, where she was the head of Quality Safety Health and Environment. Merissa holds Bachelor of Science (Developmental Psychology) and Master of Human Rights degrees.
Should you wish to contact any member of our Board or the CEO:
C/- ASeTTS, 286 Beaufort Street, Perth, Western Australia 6000.
Telephone: (08) 9227 2736 / Fax: (08) 9227 2777
ASeTTS employs over 30 staff and enjoys the support of many WA volunteers. We aim to maintain a vibrant and positive workplace, a respectful, caring and rewarding culture and invest in opportunities for ongoing professional development.
We recognise that various factors contribute to the creation and maintenance of a healthy and happy organisation. We are committed to developing a healthy, trauma-informed workplace for all.