Untying trauma with BlueKnot

  • Integrity Blog

WARNING: This story contains references to abuse trauma.

One research study shows that 82% of Australians surveyed have experienced interpersonal violence as children participating in sport including psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

Here at Sport Integrity Australia, we receive a range of complaints including, but not limited to, verbal, emotional, mental and sexual abuse claims.

Managing trauma related to these claims, especially when children have been impacted, requires a high degree of sensitivity, compassion and specialised knowledge.

Last week, our Assistant Director of Safeguarding Emma Gardner and Human Rights Advisor Nikki Dryden attended the Trauma Sensitive Practice - Working with Complex Trauma training hosted by not for profit, BlueKnot.

The training was aimed at upskilling and empowering people who work with those who have experienced trauma to build a trauma-informed professional community.

In reference to the research relating to children in sport, Ms Dryden says the disproportionate number of those experiencing trauma highlights the need for agencies like ours to stay at the forefront of evolving trauma response techniques.

“The research highlights that more than three quarters of those who played sport as kids may have experienced trauma or are still experiencing it,” she says.

“It is essential that in all interactions we have with sport participants, Sport Integrity Australia engages in a trauma-informed way. 

“The BlueKnot training is a blend of foundational information on complex trauma with the introduction of the practice of ‘safety and stabilisation’. This training program utilises current research to provide an understanding of trauma, the impacts of trauma and the neurobiological responses that occur.”

Ms Dryden says the practical skills learnt during the training will have a direct impact on the work done by Sport Integrity Australia. 

“Complex trauma occurs with cumulative exposure to traumatic experiences. 

“We learned about what a felt sense of safety looks like, understanding symptoms, including the neurobiological context of trauma experiences and the practical application of a trauma informed response. All of which are relevant for our work in safeguarding and human rights.” 

With over 15 years of safeguarding experience across multiple sectors, Ms Gardner is enthusiastic about sharing her updated knowledge with the agency and the safeguarding team.

“Having worked in the child protection sector, it is always great to be kept up to date with latest theory and practice and I felt the content was completely transferrable into the work of the safeguarding team,” Ms Gardner says.

“Understanding the impact of trauma on athletes and participants enables us to direct our resourcing and education in ways that support our stakeholders.

“We are able to unpack with sports administrators the importance of a proactive approach to child safety and ways to ensure best practice. We are also able to identify varying trauma responses and strive to assist sports to respond to indicators of abuse.”


BlueKnot offers a range of free resources on understanding trauma and abuse and coping strategies via the resources page on the BlueKnot website.

Sport Integrity Australia has a wide range of:

Want to know more?

Below are some helpful links to information pages and further resources for child safeguarding in sport.