Asylum Seekers


An asylum seeker is a person who has left their country of origin and has applied for protection as a refugee to a government or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. According to the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, everyone has a right to seek asylum from persecution.

Asylum seekers face similar issues in the process of seeking asylum as refugees who are going through the resettlement process do. However the distress arising from their past experiences of torture or trauma is often compounded by prolonged periods of uncertainty, concerns for family members still living in danger, and the threat of being returned to their home country.

Asylum seekers can be particularly vulnerable to additional psychological and physical distress as a result of limited access to basic supports and services.

STTARS offers individual counselling support for survivors of torture or refugee-related trauma regardless of whether they have been recognised as a refugee or are still in the process of seeking asylum.

Because asylum seekers are not yet in a position of safety, counselling for asylum seekers focuses on:

  • Providing assistance to cope with and contain trauma-related symptoms
  • Building strengths and resilience to be able to manage their current situation as well as the future once their protection claim is decided

STTARS works in partnership with other key service providers to:

  • Support asylum seekers to have their basic practical needs met
  • Address immediate health and mental health needs
  • Encourage links with activities that support social connection or build skills that may make a positive contribution to their future

Asylum seekers can refer themselves to STTARS for counselling support, or may be referred – with their consent – by a GP, another organisation, a friend or a family member.

SRSS asylum seekers living in the community can be referred to STTARS by their case manager.

For more information about the support we can offer asylum seekers, please contact our Intake Coordinator on 8206 8900 or email