Watching out for you when good times go bad

Community Crisis Chaplains is a project of ChaplainWatch Inc™.  It is a divinely inspired, laterally conceived, passionately driven response to fill a gap in responding to those who may be traumatised or affected due to their direct or indirect involvement in a crisis.

Focusing on those involved in a crisis


To provide rapid response support, on scene, at a critical incident focusing on the onlookers, bystanders and witnesses (aka secondaries) who are not the primary victims.  The response is designed so as to prevent or at least reduce the impacts of trauma. 

Further CCC would  coordinate, where necessary, ongoing connections for the long-term support of those negatively affected by the incident.


The purpose of Community Crisis Chaplains crisis intervention is to help:

  • Decreases acute stress (aka trauma) derived from the crisis
  • Increases coping and resilience following the crisis (Herman 1992 in Traumatology institute 2015)


The mission of the Community Crisis Chaplains is consistent with the well-established mission under which ChaplainWatch has successfully run the NightWatch and NightSafe programs:

  • “Watching Out For You When Good Times Go Bad”
  • “People Matter”
  • “To Be There When We Are Needed”
  • “Public Safety in Public Spaces”

Crises are an all too frequent event, natural or man-made, which have the power to impact normal people in many destructive ways.

The goal of Community Crisis Chaplaincy is to fill the gap

At a critical incident, Emergency Services respond with incredible effectiveness.  They know that a rapid response is vital.  They mostly focus on the primary victims, and rightly so. 

There are others who are not the primaries, yet still have a very real potential for personal trauma.  We call them secondaries.  They happen to stand outside the exclusion zones.  Each are no less important yet often overlooked.  They need a rapid response with skilled care and support.

The same applies to neighbourhoods and communities.  Each are unique in their own dynamic.

The role of CCC is to stand in the gap, outside the exclusion zone, offering trauma triage to those who need immediate mental health first aid, care, support, advice and wisdom is vital for emotional and personal on-going well-being.

The first 48 hours

A critical window exists within the first 48 hours of a crisis impacting an individual.  Skilled intervention can help safeguard people from ending up as long-term psychological casualties and help the process of naturally coping.

Understanding emotional and psychological trauma happens when unusually stressful events shatter one’s sense of security, releasing feelings of helplessness.  “About 25% of people who are exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD.” (SANE Aust)

Trauma is remediable

In the early aftermath of a traumatic event, the best tactic is to offer practical and emotional support and encourage the use of coping strategies and social supports.  The goal here is to enhance the person’s natural resilience and coping ability in the face of trauma.  In view of this, early intervention can reduce the critical on-set of delayed-stress, substantially.

This is where Community Crisis Chaplaincy comes in!

Individual trauma

Defined as “a blow to the psyche that breaks through one’s defences so suddenly and with such brutal force that one cannot react to it effectively.” (A Journey through Trauma’ Silvia Pellicer-Orti).  Individual trauma manifests itself in the stress and grief reactions which individual experience but often don’t comprehend.

Collective trauma

Defined as “a blow to the basic tissues of social life that damages the bonds attaching people together and impairs the prevailing sense of communality”. (Collective Trauma and the Social Construction of Meaning. Gilad Hirschberger)

Collective trauma is often less “visible” than individual trauma.  While people often find it individual trauma difficult to deal with, the immediate community may also be in shreds and a supportive community does not exist

Community Crisis Chaplaincy is ready to respond and support.

Outside the blue line

Community Crisis Chaplaincy specialises in secondary community intervention.

Primary victims and those who are initial involved with the incident are normally the responsibility of the Emergency Services victim support protocols.  Emergency Services typically installs an exclusion zone, which separates the primary and secondary groups.  This produces a distinction between primary and secondary victims.

CCC are skilled to respond to secondaries: individuals; groups; businesses, etc as well as neighbourhoods and communities.

Community Crisis Chaplaincy Committed to respond to the secondaries.

Community Crisis Chaplains are available to be called:

Community Crisis Chaplaincy are to be available to respond, for example:

When a crisis or emergency incident happens

Where the event draws onlookers and it has the potential to cause on-going impairment

  • Fatality, near fatality or serious physical or emotional incident
  • Serious traffic accidents
  • Murder
  • Public suicide (or attempt)
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Accidental injury or death
  • Fire, explosion, bomb threat; unintentional release of chemical, biological or radioactive substances
  • Hold-up or attempted robbery
  • Threats or incidents of violence
  • Siege
  • Storms/natural disasters
  • Public health matter – contagious disease subject to mandatory notification

Who  Principally responding where a large group of onlookers or bystanders are gathered at a crisis and where secondaries may need intervention.

24/7 Hotline—0418 667 250

What’s a Chaplain

A Chaplain exist in their community and models what ‘neighbouring’ looks like.  The Christian mandate places love for our neighbours in the same category as our love for God.  Jesus, in his story about the Good Samaritan, tells when people are in trouble a neighbour will see it and will respond with compassion and support.(Luke 10:30-37)  The New Testament also declares that it is impossible to truly love God whom we have not seen while refusing to love our neighbour whom we have seen.(1 John 5)

Because of the enormous importance of ‘neighbouring’ in the Christian calling, ChaplainWatch gives high priority to role of Chaplain.  Where a Chaplain sees needs in their community, they start to “neighbour” their community, building relationships and gathering resources to help their neighbours respond to their needs and concerns.

What Chaplains do

Chaplains are there for you.

Some Chaplains perform wedding or funeral ceremonies, deliver spiritual messages, administer communion, offer prayer at public meetings, provide regular counselling, while there are specialist Chaplains attached to the military, hospitals, law enforcement and fire departments, sports teams, corporations and businesses, the arts and educational institutions.  Certain Chaplains also function as advocates; hospital chaplains, for example, may make requests of a nurse to help meet a particular patient’s needs; military chaplains may provide for marriage enrichment retreats.  Today, the range of opportunities where you will find a Chaplain is vast.

Chaplains meet the need of the moment.

Chaplains work in many environments

Chaplains serve the spiritual and emotional needs of others.

Recommended Resource: The Work of the Chaplain by Paget & McCormack

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