Counsellor and Support Person Specific Actions


Before Disaster

Actions for Gender Equity

  • Encourage individuals to develop their strengths beyond gendered expectations.
  • Develop and promote gender-appropriate counselling for men that takes masculinity issues into account, including in crisis situations such as natural disasters.

Surviving Disaster

  • Lobby for the right of clients to have a continuing counselling relationship wherever possible, e.g. with ESOs which may terminate counselling arrangements.
  • Investigate ways of supporting men in the aftermath of a disaster, in the knowledge that they are often reluctant to seek formal counselling
  • Investigate effective counselling for emergency services workers in the immediate post disaster period-particularly in male-dominated organisations (see, e.g. Dr Michelle Tuckey)
  • Investigate alternative ways to support men, e.g. through community-oriented action groups, or in social clean-up events.

Domestic Violence

  • Ask about DV. Name it. Know how to respond to protect women and children and refer men to support services or men’s behaviour change programs.
  • Attend Family Violence after Natural Disaster training to develop awareness of the way DV is excused after disaster.
  • Apply to join disaster preparation groups at Local Government or State Government levels to advocate for the needs of women in DV and men post-disaster.

General Actions


Actions for Gender Equity

  • Recognise that the way men and women act is often the result of social conditioning and these gendered roles can leave women at a disadvantage both during and after disasters
  • Resist stereotypes —base all initiatives on knowledge of difference and specific cultural, economic, political and sexual context, not generalisations (Gender and Disasters Network 2005 p. 159).

Surviving Disaster

  • Before, during, and after disasters, challenge expectations that men will behave in a defined ‘masculine’ way – encourage expression of emotion.

Domestic Violence

  • Be aware that women are at increased risk of violence. Understand that disaster is no excuse for DV.
  • Name it: Say the word ‘violent’- not ‘stressed’ and ‘angry’.
  • Follow the 4 steps to support someone suffering domestic violence after a disaster.
  • Undertake training in identifying domestic violence after disaster, e.g. (provide Iink to our training on this site).