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Specialist chaplains for critical incidents

When the Pastoral Critical Incident Response (PCIR) phone rings, it’s never good news.

The dedicated number is manned 24/7 and when it’s called, YouthCARE’s specialist team are mobilised.

The team are trained by renowned clinical psychologist Dr David Cockram, who provided pastoral care in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings and 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand.

Seventy PCIR chaplains are located across the state with the aim that someone can be on the scene as soon as possible during an emergency. First launched in 2010 as a joint initiative with the WA Department of Education, the service is a national first and has been utilised more than 80 times.

Sadly, there are many reasons why the service is required, such as the death of someone in the school community or traumatic events, like natural disasters. In 2016, the Waroona Bushfires devastated the region and displaced many from the surrounding towns.

Ten PCIR chaplains were mobilised to work alongside government agencies, psychologists and social workers. The chaplains provided pastoral care to hundreds of people at the Australind evacuation centre.

A chaplain was also sent to support the firefighters who had been working night and day. PCIR chaplains refer those affected by trauma to psychological, medical and other professional assistance.

Feedback from school communities has been extremely positive.

“It was truly beneficial to have the chaplains from PCIR at our school following a parent suicide. They brought the love, peace and compassion we all needed to cope with the shock of the parent’s death.” - School Principal