Evaluation of the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (PASTT)


Why the research project is important

The Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (AusHSI) was engaged by the Department of Health and Aged Care to independently evaluate the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (PASTT). PASTT is a specialist service available to refugees who settle in Australia and are survivors of pre-migration conflict and human rights abuses including physical and psychological harm.

PASTT services are offered Australia-wide at the individual, family, and community level and include counselling, community capacity development work, and advocacy. A key aim of PASTT-funded work is also to improve the effectiveness of mainstream health and community organisations to support successful resettlement of refugees by delivering professional development and training activities to mainstream providers.

What the research seeks to do

Employing a mixed-methods approach, this evaluation examined the implementation (appropriateness, acceptability, challenges), outcomes (client, third-party provider, and community), and economic considerations related to PASTT service provision, including in regional and rural areas. The alignment of PASTT with international standards of evidence was also considered.

What are the research outcomes/ impact

PASTT demonstrates clear appropriateness in meeting client needs and effectiveness in improving access and outcomes for refugee communities. This includes improving psychosocial health, well-being, and engagement with Australian society.

There is a continued need for PASTT to build the skills and capacity of mainstream services, particularly in regional areas, to respond to and care for refugee clients appropriately. Adequately investing in community capacity building will be essential to sustain long-term connections with communities to reduce stigma and contribute to early intervention and prevention. Due to increases in service demand and delivery costs, as well as external stressors, it was recommended that a new funding allocation model be considered for the longevity of this important program.

Funding Body

Department of Health and Aged Care

Further Details

For further information, please contact investigator Dr Bridget Abell at bridget.abell@qut.edu.au.


Bridget Abell

Hannah Carter

Zephanie Tyack

David Rodwell

Kamilla Davidson


With thanks to the CEOs and members of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) for their ongoing input into the evaluation.