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Table 1 Six core principles of the trauma-informed approach (Kezelman & Stavropoulos, 2020; SAMHSA, 2014)

From: The voices of incarcerated women at the forefront of parenting program development: a trauma-informed approach to education

Needs and considerations identified by the women Principles How program content/foundation could reflect a trauma informed approach
Impact of mental health conditions on learning and engagement
Women not wanting to feel judged
Trauma and intergenerational trauma
Safety Physical and emotional safety
Respectful and engaging communication
• Clear explanations
• Humane, respectful and empathic and compassionate interactions
• Comfortable environment
• No judgement from others
• Inclusive of all cultures and ethnicity
Parenting expectations outlined Clear information (written, verbal, video) Trustworthiness Clarity, consistency and interpersonal boundaries
• Clear explanation of program content, goals, expectations
• Program facilitator should maintain professional boundaries and a friendly disposition
• Participation is voluntary and consent gained where the goals, risks and benefits of involvement in the program have been discussed
• All agree not to share information outside the program
• Provided with simple relevant information
Positive influence of peer support and discussion
Shared similar circumstances
Learning through others with lived experience
Peer support Peer support to encourage recovery and healing
• Provide opportunity for women to find a person to buddy, inside or outside education group
• Opportunity for open discussion and exploration
• Lived experience person to promote recovery and hope
Address personal aims and individual needs
Plan for the future
Gain knowledge and understanding from information and open discussion for connection and re-connection with children and family
Positive health care strategies
Access to parenting information
Opportunity to ask questions about parenting
Loss of mothering identity
Empowerment, voice and choice Maximising choice, control, empowerment, and skill-building
• Program facilitators use a trauma-informed approach to promote recovery and healing
• Voluntary program attendance
• Choice to book into specific sessions or attend the whole program
• Given a choice about participation during education sessions
• Opportunity to plan and make goals
• Learn skills and build on own strengths
• Promote working towards a positive future
• Provide an opportunity to discuss motherhood, write to children, learn positive communication
• Time to reflect, identify as a mother and ask questions
Feelings of powerlessness were identified Connection with culture and community Collaboration Maximising collaboration and sharing power
• Program founded on needs and views of women
• Women seen as the experts of their own experience and minimize the power imbalance
• Respectful, de-escalating language to be used to promote effective communication
• Discussion will promote sharing of individual stories, culture, values and beliefs
• The program will be piloted whereby the women’s views of the program will be taken into consideration and potential changes made
• Personal stories shared from others with lived experience
The choice of an Aboriginal only parenting education group
Racism and discrimination identified as an issue
Trauma of child removal
Connect with culture and Aboriginal Elders
Cultural, historical and gender issues Responsive to race, ethnicity, culture, and historical trauma
• Encourage learning and sharing about culture and diversity
• Encourage women to connect with culture and teach their children about culture
• Provide opportunity to hear from Aboriginal Elders
• Provide an Aboriginal group for Aboriginal women and a group open to all women, including Aboriginal women (have a choice)
• Acknowledge impact of trauma and Australian history, leading to intergenerational trauma
• Provide information about Child Protection to optimize support