Women's Health and Equality Queensland


Advocating for yourself


Life Stages




Violence Against Women



Impacts of Trauma

Traumatic events threaten the life and safety of ourselves or others. They can involve actual or threatened death, serious injury, or domestic, family, or sexual violence.

Violence against women is any act of gender-based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life. In Australia, 1 in 3 women has experienced physical violence, and 1 in 5 women has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Experiences of violence are the leading cause of trauma and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Experiencing or hearing about a traumatic event or multiple traumatic events can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Factors that may contribute to developing PTSD include:

  • past life experiences such as childhood trauma or sexual abuse, 
  • experiencing trauma over a long period of time, 
  • having a job that exposes you to repeated trauma, 
  • family history of mental health issues, 
  • previous mental health issues like anxiety and depression, 
  • and your support network.

When we’re traumatised, we may be very emotional, feel anxious, think a lot about what happened, have trouble sleeping, not feel like eating much, feel scared, guilty, or angry. Mostly, these feelings of distress will gradually calm down in the weeks after the trauma. For some people, however, these disturbing memories and feelings stay, and may develop into acute stress disorder or PTSD.

There are things you can do that may help you cope with a traumatic event including:

  • seeking social support,
  • talking to family and friends, or someone else who is good at listening and offering support,
  • talking to someone in your community,
  • talking about it early,
  • and staying away from drugs and alcohol as a way of coping.

There are ways to deal with and manage PTSD, including psychological treatment, medications, exercise, self-help and ye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. Talk to your doctor about getting help if you suffer from, or think you suffer from PTSD.


UN Women


Scroll to Top