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Sanctuary Research

At MacKillop, the Sanctuary Model underpins our work with children, young people and families. The Sanctuary Model is a whole-culture approach that has a clear and structured methodology for creating or changing an organisational culture.

Sanctuary creates an environment in which staff can sustain work with traumatised individuals and build meaningful connections. It supports staff and clients to be safe and facilitates healing for those impacted by trauma.

Sanctuary was developed in America and is an ‘Evidence-supported’ model which means it is verified by sound science and effective practices.

MacKillop is working with Monash University to build the evidence base on the Sanctuary Model and trauma informed models of practice in the Australian context. Two PhD research projects are underway to explore the implementation of trauma informed models in the school and residential care settings. The projects will consider how the life-long effects of intergenerational disadvantage and vulnerability in children and young people can be moderated by trauma-responsive environment.


Galvin E, O'Donnell R, Skouteris H, Halfpenny, N. & Mousa, A. Interventions and Practice Models for Improving Health and Psychosocial Outcomes of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care: Protocol for a Systematic Review. BMJ Open 2019;9:e031362. doi:

Galvin, E., O'Donnell, R., Breman, R., Avery, J., Mousa, A., Halfpenny, N., & Skouteris, H. (2020). Interventions and Practice Models for Improving Health and Psychosocial Outcomes for Children in Residential Out-of-Home Care: Systematic Review. Australian Social Work. doi: [In Press]

Galvin, E., O'Donnell, R., Mousa, A., Halfpenny, N., & Skouteris, H. (2020). Attitudes of Residential Care Staff Towards Trauma-Informed Care. Children and Youth Services Review, 105346. doi:

Avery, J., Morris, H., Galvin, E., Misso, M., Savaglio, M., Skouteris, H. (2020) Systematic Review of School-Wide Trauma-Informed Approaches. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. In Press. doi:

Galvin, E., Morris, H., Mousa, A., O'Donnell, R., Halfpenny, N., & Skouteris, H. (2021). Implementation of The Sanctuary Model in residential out-of-home care: Enablers, barriers, successes and challenges. Children and Youth Services Review, 121, 105901. Doi:

Deppeler, J & Avery, J (2020) Rethinking Learning and Teaching Environments (ReLATE) School Based Trauma-informed Initiative: Pilot Evaluation. Monash University, Monash.