Supporting students impacted by trauma

Following traumatic experiences, children and young people often turn to adults they trust for support.

Refer to new factsheets for advice on supporting students' recovery following a disaster

Following traumatic experiences, children and young people often turn to adults they trust for support.

Schools and teachers provide a safe, familiar, and predictable place for students who have experienced trauma.

However, providing support to students who have experienced a community-level trauma can be daunting and uncomfortable for teachers.

For advice on how to best support students, teachers can refer to new High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) factsheets.

Supporting trauma recovery

During post-disaster recovery, students may expend energy processing their experience, which can impact their memory, ability to concentrate and focus on learning.

To support teachers engaging with students experiencing post-disaster recovery, the department's Trauma Recovery Team, in partnership with the Teacher Professional Practice Unit and Monash University, has developed HITS factsheets.

The Trauma Recovery Team developed the factsheets based on feedback from principals and teachers in educational communities impacted by the 2019-20 eastern Victoria bushfires.

The Trauma Recovery Team found teachers wanted practical strategies for classrooms to support students processing bushfire experiences, acknowledging that many teachers were also processing their own bushfire experiences while supporting students.

The factsheets were developed specifically for schools in bushfire-impacted communities, but the trauma-informed guidance also applies to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, floods and extreme weather events. Each factsheet includes:

  • an overview of the individual HITS
  • trauma-informed guidance on how the HITS supports students
  • a list of resources to use in the classroom.

HITS for community-level trauma

Teachers can use the HITS individually, or in combination, to create a safe and supportive classroom environment for students as they process their disaster experience. The factsheets include:

All of the HITS trauma-informed factsheets are available on FUSE.

Recordings from masterclasses delivered in Term 2, 2021 on how HITS can be used in the classroom are also available.

The Trauma Recovery Team

Established to support schools' psychosocial recovery following the 2019-20 eastern Victoria bushfires, the Trauma Recovery Team supports bushfire-impacted schools in Ovens Murray and Outer Gippsland areas, including:

  • Bushfire Recovery Practitioners who work directly with schools
  • community support sessions with psychologists experienced in trauma and disaster recovery
  • emotional preparedness professional learning.

To find out more about their work, contact the Trauma Recovery Team by email:

Find out more

For more information, refer to the FUSE website.