Our Story

ABTA was founded in 2016, when Liz Skinner, a midwife, registered nurse, child and family clinician, lecturer and researcher was in the process of interviewing affected women for her PHD thesis on ‘The Psychological Impact of Somatic Trauma’. Amy Dawes discovered Liz’s work during the journey to process her own experience after the forceps delivery she had with her first child. Amy reached out to Liz and a friendship was formed.

Shortly after meeting Amy, Liz visited the UK and met with the UK Birth Trauma Association. It was during this trip that Liz recognised the great need for women and their families to have support in Australia and New Zealand. Upon her return, she made this suggestion to Amy, and so, with initial funds donated by Professor Hans Peter Dietz, the Australasian Birth Trauma Association was founded. In 2017, a Board was formed and in that same year ABTA became a registered charity.

ABTA is reliant upon our board of advisors and also on the women and partners who have a lived-experience of birth trauma to train and commit to voluntary service facilitating our weekday live chat support service from their homes.

We are the first charity solely dedicated to supporting women, partners and families after birth-related trauma – we listen to the voice of the consumer and respond to the unmet needs of birthing families across Australia & New Zealand. As an organisation we advocate for a multidisciplinary approach to supporting birthing families and with this, we collaborate with all health professional groups involved in maternity care to better improve our services.
We are committed to serving all those who need our services throughout Australia and New Zealand and encourage you to reach out if you are in need of support or would like to join us on our mission to reduce the instances and impact of birth trauma whilst supporting affected women, families and healthcare professionals.

Core Values

  We are:
         – Consumer-centred.                – Compassionate            – Collaborative                                           – Peer-led                                    – Empathetic
         – Inclusive                                   – Respectful

How we practice our values:
Consumer-centered: We focus on the needs of the individual (see also: “Our language”).

Peer-led: Those with a lived experience of birth-related trauma shape all of our work.

Inclusive: We support birthing individuals and their families, recognising that families
come in all shapes and sizes.

Compassionate: We care about those who have had a lived experience.

Empathetic: We want you to feel heard and your experience validated.

Respectful: We accept you for who you are, and your experience.

Collaborative: We know our purpose can only be achieved by working together with a range of people and professions, each group with important strengths and contributions.

We value information which is:
– Evidence-based                  – Holistic               – Multi-disciplinary

How we practice our values:
Evidence-based: Our approach is supported by the best available research.

Holistic: Our approach takes a broad view of trauma, to include not only physical needs,
but social and emotional.

Multi-disciplinary: Our approach involves a wide range of health professionals, each with important strengths and contributions.

Our language

  Anyone can experience birth-related trauma, including:

      – people giving birth;

      – partners, friends and family members of people giving birth; and

      – other people witnessing a birth or providing care in relation to pregnancy and birth,                including health professionals.

We seek to be inclusive. All are welcome to access our services and resources, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, profession or the circumstances in which they have suffered birth-related trauma.

“Birth-related trauma” includes any injury or trauma, whether physical or psychological, sustained at any time in connection with pregnancy, labour or childbirth. This definition is intended to be broad.

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Related Links

Postnatal care in Australia, positional statement
Postnatal care in Australia

Position Statement (PDF)

Antenatal care in Australia, positional statement
Antenatal care in Australia

Position Statement (PDF)

Position Statements

Position Statements have been prepared to provide an explanation of the Australasian Birth Trauma Association’s (ABTA)’s views and values about topics directly related to supporting families impacted by birth related trauma. These Position Statements have been informed by the collection of anecdotal evidence from families who have experienced trauma as a result of childbirth, as well as communication with health professionals and learnings from academic research. These Position Statements are living documents that will be updated from time to time to reflect new research, fresh understandings and changes in context.

Vision

ABTA’s vision is safer births and better healing.

Purpose

We are a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australians and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma.

Our goals

  Awareness ↔ Understanding ↔ Support

                                                                         Sustainability

 

IMPACT 1: AWARENESS

We raise community awareness of birth-related trauma.

IMPACT 2: UNDERSTANDING

We enhance community understanding about birth-related trauma and health care, for the benefit of individuals, families and health care professionals.

IMPACT 3: SUPPORT

We provide trusted peer-led support services for people affected by birth-related trauma.

IMPACT4: SUSTAINABILITY

(underpins the three other strategic goals)

We build long-term organisational sustainability.

  IMPACT 1: AWARENESS

Raise community awareness of birth-related trauma.

Why we will do it

We do this to remove the stigma of birth trauma in Australian and NZ communities. We do this so that people affected take action to get support or treatment.

We do this so that people affected by birth-related trauma feel understood and respected in their communities.

 

How we will do it

We will represent the consumer voice. We will speak up about birth-related trauma. We will do this primarily through:

1. Relationships and partnerships

2. Communication campaigns

3. Forums

4. Advocacy

 

Our desired success

Relationships and partnerships

a. Regular positive contact and collaboration with the peak industry bodies

i. 2021: Connect with peak industry bodies to understand their needs and how to leverage their networks

ii. 2021: Present in one to two key stakeholder forums

b. Find “champions” to draw attention to our work and cause
          i. 2021: Recruit three champions
          ii. 2023: Have recruited at least six champions (ongoing)
 

Communication campaigns

a. Targeted communication channels where our target audiences most frequently visit (e.g. social media, newspapers, webinars, podcasts) with a view to an increase of engagement over the life of the strategic plan
          i. 2021: 50,000 annual website hits
          ii. 2021: Appear in national media at least once each month throughout the year
          iii. 2021: Community Think Tank to meet regularly; and build a strong two-way                          communication with the Board
          iv. 2023: 75,000 annual website hits

Forums
a. Present in key forums and conferences
          i. 2021: Host birth trauma conference

Advocacy
a. Engage with government and parliamentarians about birth-related issues where tactically appropriate
          i. 2021: Assign responsibility to an individual or committee for government / parliamentary engagement
b. Equip our supporters to campaign for reforms relevant to birth-related trauma.
          i. 2021: Publish campaign resources / guidance on our website

  IMPACT 2: UNDERSTANDING

What we will do

Enhance community understanding about birth-related trauma and health care, for the benefit of individuals, families and health care professionals.

 

Why we will do it

We do this to empower consumers to communicate their needs effectively, and to make informed decisions about their care.

We do this to enable health professionals to communicate options and advice effectively, and thus support individuals to make informed choices.

 

How we will do it

We will provide information, tools and resources about preventing and healing from birth-related trauma.


We will do this primarily through:


        1. Creating educational information and resources
        2. Offering educational events (such as webinars, conferences)
        3. Increasing accessibility
        4. Contributing to research

Our desired success

Creating educational information and resources

a. Collaboratively develop THINKNATAL and ABTA education resources, prioritising quality over quantity

         i. 2021: Release at least two high-quality educational modules in 2021
         ii. 2021: Clinical Advisory Committee to meet regularly; and build a strong two-way
communication with the Board, providing advice on significant clinical issues
         iii. 2023: We will have released at least six educational modules by end 2023
b. Upgrade the quality and volume of information about birth-related perinatal trauma on our website
         i. 2021: Update website to contain a range of quality resources about all types of birth-related trauma

Offering educational events (such as webinars, conferences)
a. Deliver our bi-annual birth trauma conference
         i. 2021: Host birth trauma conference
         ii. 2023: Host birth trauma conference
b. Delivered our state-based workshops for consumers and health professionals
        i. 2022: Plan for holding workshops in all States and NZ by end of 2023

Increasing accessibility
a. Build relationships for access to content specialists and for distribution of resources
        i. 2021: Build distribution plan
b. Disseminate resources widely to individuals and families in Australia and NZ, and also health professionals
        i. 2021: Develop plan for expanding to NZ

Contributing to research
a. Contribute to research where tactically appropriate.

  IMPACT 3: COMMUNITY SUPPORT

What we will do

Provide trusted peer-led support services for people affected by birth-related trauma.

 

Why we will do it

We do this so that people who are affected by birth-related trauma:
       – feel heard;
       – feel they belong;
       – feel validated; and
       – can make informed choices about next steps, to gain a better quality of life.

 

How we will do it

In providing support services, we will focus on:
        – Quality;
        – Reach; and
        – Accessibility and inclusiveness.

 

Our desired success

 

Quality
a. Listen to consumers and community trends, concerns and needs in relation to birth-related trauma by disseminating an annual ‘Voice of the Consumer’ survey
        i. 2021: Develop and deliver an annual consumer survey
        ii. 2022: Deliver survey
        iii. 2023: Deliver survey and compare results

b. Develop an effective Community ThinkTank (Consumer and Community Reference Committee), advising about consumer and community aspects of our work and purpose
        i. 2021: Established committee; build it up
c. Improve the quality of our peer mentoring services
        i. 2021: Review peer-to-peer program content and delivery methods
        ii. 2021: Develop appraisal/evaluation system for the peer-to-peer program

 

Reach
a. Support more individuals through Peer2Peer Meets and Peer2Peer Chat
       i. 2023: 500 additional individuals supported over the life of the vision
b. Deliver peer support services in NZ
       i. 2021: Develop plan
       ii. 2022: Commence service delivery in NZ
c. Train peer-to-peer mentors in every State and Territory of Australia and in NZ
       i. 2021: Deliver training to additional and continuing peer-to-peer mentors
       ii. 2021: Develop a plan for growth of mentor training through to 2023


Accessibility and inclusiveness
a. Increased community connections to health professionals via referral pathways
b. Deliver Peer2Peer Chat – support services over the telephone
       i. 2021: Commence delivery by end of year
c. Better support our CALD and Indigenous communities
       i. 2021: Develop a plan
       ii. 2023: Oversight of statistics for CALD and Indigenous people supported by our
program
       iii. 2023: Increase in number of CALD and Indigenous people supported by our
program

  IMPACT 4: SUSTAINABILITY

Underpinning the three impact goals

What we will do

Build long-term organisational sustainability.

 

Why we will do it

We do this so that we can survive and thrive as an organisation long-term, while increasing our impact over the course of the plan.

 

How we will do it

We will effectively govern our organisation for long-term sustainability. We will do this primarily through:
         1. Establishing sustainable revenue sources;
         2. Effective risk management; and
         3. Ensuring the leadership necessary to realise our vision.

 

Our desired success

Revenue sources
– Finance: increase our income each year
          – 2021: Derive at least $100,000 in income in the 2020-2021 financial year
– Fundraising: diversify income streams within the Board’s risk appetite
         – 2021: Fundraising & Grants Committee to meet regularly; develop and implement a fundraising strategy, and build a strong two-way communication with the Board

Risk management
– Effectively manage risks, including financial oversight; workplace health, safety and wellbeing; and operational risks
          – 2021: Implement the risk management framework, with regular reviews by the Board
          – 2021: Review and strategise a workplace safety plan
          – 2021: Annual governance review of policies and practices


Leadership
– Leadership: skilled, strong leadership at board, committee and senior management level
          – 2021: Develop strong and effective board committees generally
          – 2021: Recruit and induct a full board (seven directors) with, collectively, the skills
and commitment needed to effect this strategic plan
          – 2021: Start to pay our CEO a salary; and support appropriate training

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