It’s extraordinary to see that December is upon us once again and it is an opportune time to reflect on the year that has been. In doing so, I continue to be amazed at all we have been able to achieve. Our people have continued to work with dedication, and in the last 12 months our services received more referrals for counselling and we have educated more people across Victoria than ever before.
We have enjoyed a positive and productive relationship with our partners and we thank the TAC, Victoria Police and the Magistrates’ Court for their ongoing support. We are also creating exciting opportunities with new partners that will enable us to continue to grow in 2015 and beyond.
In tribute to the dedication and expertise of our people and work, let’s acknowledge and celebrate our achievements of 2014, some of which include:
Being nominated as a finalist in the Australian College of Road Safety and the Ballarat Community Safety Awards
Celebrated the 10 year anniversary of delivering the Road Trauma Awareness Seminar program
Commencing the Accelerated Insight Program and the Drive to Learn Program
Planning and delivering our inaugural Shine a Light on Road Safety campaign
Providing art therapy for our clients in which a beautiful hand-felted mandala was created
Planning and delivering our second Recharge Day in Mt Evelyn for families
Engaging more people in the community through social media than ever before.
December also marks the commencement of the festive season which is a time of celebration and enjoying the company of family and friends. However for many of us, it also a time of reflection and remembering those who are not here with us to celebrate. I encourage you to find comfort amongst your loved ones and relish their company.
I wish each of you and your families a peaceful, restful and above all, a safe Christmas and New Year.
10 year anniversary
Our Road Trauma Awareness Seminar (RTAS) program celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2014. It has grown to now being delivered in 18 locations across Victoria to more than 1000 participants.
The seminar is based on cognitive behaviour theory, experiential learning, narrative discourse and uses adult learning principles to deliver a challenging and supportive session. A trained educator facilitates the session and two speakers, an emergency service worker and a volunteer with personal experience of road trauma, share their experience. Our calendar for 2015 is now live on our website.
The ceremony provides a supportive space for people to remember loved ones who have died in a road crash, recognise the pain and loss felt by the family and friends struggling to rebuild their lives and acknowledge those who continue to suffer long term physical and emotional pain.
This year, the moving ceremony was again complemented by the beautiful work of RTSSV’s art therapy group. Collectively, the women in the group, led by Art Therapist Barbara Joyce, created “Our enduring circle’, a felted mandala. This imperfect mandala represents the ongoing personal journey of each of the participants in the group, the movement between light and dark and the tears shed. It also represents the love and hope that holds each person and provides the ‘necessary softness and beauty to help withstand the continuing impact of road trauma’ (words by the members of the art therapy group).
RTSSV offers our clients a ceremony that recognises the often life changing impact of road trauma and it is our desire to acknowledge and support every individual impacted by road trauma. We hope that each person who attended was able to find some aspect of the service that gently encouraged them to find strength in the community around them.
Members of the RTSSV art therapy group and their mandala 'Our enduring circle'
Hello to all my colleagues at RTSSV, it's time for me to move on as volunteer speaker and embark on my next phase of life. As a social entrepreneur I am investing my energies into developing a smart app for people with disabilities, and writing my memoir pre and post car accident.
Since 2005 I have performed the role of volunteer speaker at Road Trauma Awareness Seminars. I have had the pleasure of working with a number of talented and wonderful people in my time at RTSSV, all of whom contribute in making RTSSV a successful organisation.
I thank the counsellors, particularly Lynne Irving, for their emotional support over the years; to Chris Harrison and Karen Robinson who have been very helpful when I needed assistance and have been accommodating to my needs during my tenure. I joined RTSSV to share my experience, so others who may gain a better understanding of the consequences of road trauma, and the impact it has on family, friends and the wider community.
Though at times the role proved physically and mentally challenging, I gained enormous personal development and confidence from sharing my story. I encourage others to share their story as I believe the program has plenty of merit for both volunteers and the community.
I thank each of you for having the opportunity to work alongside you. My life has been greatly enriched by the kindness and encouragement so many of you have shown to me. I will always be grateful for the many friends I have made along the journey and the wonderful memories I take with me.
I wish you all the very best.
Michael has been a volunteer with our organisation for nearly 10 years, we would like to thank him for his contribution, for speaking and changing driver's attitudes and behaviours on our roads. We will miss you Michael and wish you all the very best with your new ventures - THANK YOU!
Community road safety
Melton City Council in partnership with RTSSV and Victoria Police have held Community Road Safety Forums twice per year, since 2009. The forum aims to improve and influence drivers and in particular our younger drivers behaviour on the roads. Participants learn more about road rules and the effects that road trauma has on our family, friends and the wider community.
In October, we were privileged to have the Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing, Robert Hill deliver a very powerful road safety message highlighting that we all have a part to play in keeping ourselves and others safe on our roads.
Other guest speakers included representatives from RTSSV, members of the Victims of Road Trauma Support Group (VORTS), local Police and community members that kindly and bravely shared their stories on the effect that road trauma has on their lives.
Here is a snapshot what people had to say afterwards: • It showed how our actions can affect others • Drive with more caution and never speed or drive when tired • Pay more attention while driving.
The next forum will be held April 2015. Please contact Jan Webb at Melton City Council on 9747 7200 for more information.
act. Feel good banking
Bendigo Bank gives you the opportunity to fund RTSSV projects, at no cost to you!
The bank’s initiative act. allows you to earn and donate banking profits to a RTSSV project – simply by doing something you already do every day.
1. Bank with act. Every time you bank with act., you earn Impact Dollars – equivalent to everyday Aussie dollars, they quickly add up.
3. Feel good. Funding the project is no cost to you, but if you are particularly passionate you can top up your Impact Dollars donation with your credit card.
People who have been personally impacted by road trauma play a critical role in our education programs.
RTSSV delivers local education programs that address the attitudes and behaviours of road users. Volunteers share their personal stories to get the road safety message out into the community and ultimately save lives!
If you have been:
• injured or had a family member/friend injured or die
• first on the scene at a serious road incident
• a witness to a road incident
• a driver involved in a serious road incident
• an emergency service worker attending a road incident
• are you looking to share your story with others in the hope that one less family is impacted by road trauma?
Associate Professor Michael Fitzharris and Dr Jason Thompson from the Monash University Injury Research Institute both gave informative presentations at our AGM on 22 October 2014.
Assoc Prof Fitzharris spoke of “The importance of serious injury: the need for a new road safety focus in Victoria” and the attention placed on the number of fatalities as the performance ‘metric’ undermines the need to act to make our roads safe.
“The fact we have 40 less people killed on our roads this year means little to those who have lost loved ones to road trauma. Road trauma has a profound effect on families, friends and communities and my thoughts go out to all those who have lost a loved friend or family member.” Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill (The Age, January 2014)
Fitzharris questioned if we are creating complacency among the public by re-stating ‘record low road toll that implicitly ignores impairment, disability and mental health impacts of road trauma? He presented data demonstrating an epidemic of serious injury on our roads and argued that it’s “Time to change gear and re-create the road safety conversation” to focus on serious injury.
Dr Jason Thompson led us through his research into the importance of assuming responsibility for accidents in understanding post trauma recovery.
Our Christmas party this year was held in very wet conditions at Werribee Open Range Zoo on Sunday 7 December. The weather however, did not detract from a really wonderful day. It was great to see so many of our staff, volunteers and their families at our Christmas party.
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to such a lovely day. Especially Karen and Mark Robinson for all those wonderful gifts that were beautifully wrapped, and donated from Karen's sister Wanda Robinson of Docklands Prestige Apartment.