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Addressing Vicarious Trauma in Victim Service Professionals

The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit includes tools and resources tailored specifically to the fields of victim services, emergency medical services, fire services, law enforcement, and other allied professionals, to help organizations mitigate the potentially negative effects of vicarious trauma, the exposure to the traumatic experiences of other people.

Our public safety first responders are certainly seeing more than they've ever seen in the past, and it's affecting us.

LOIS GLASS: How vicarious trauma expresses itself can be very different. But what's common is that it impacts a change in how you see the world. Vicarious trauma erodes your ability to be present.
As victim services professionals dealing with people who have been traumatized, these are things that we have to constantly be mindful of. Historically, we had an issue where people thought, well, this person's a good fit or not a good fit for this line of work, or they're strong, or they're weak, and that's not fair to employees.
Our work was about empowering people to make decisions for themselves, to feel good about themselves, to work on their self-esteem, when ours was taking a beating.

CHRIS NEWLIN: It's a big shift within our field to assume, yes, it does happen, and organizations have a responsibility to take care of their employees.

VANESSA SEIBALD: ¿...siente deprimido entonces? It's important to think about not only who are you serving, but also, how is your staff going to be reacting differently than you may expect or trying to communicate with you differently than you may expect.

LOIS GLASS: In addressing vicarious trauma, whether it relates to supervision, management, professional development and training,
the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit gives a great place to start because it really provides a template for what an organization needs to attend to. It's kind of opened up my mind to different ways of talking about vicarious trauma, different ways of thinking about my own supervision style and what do I need to stay healthy and keep doing this work?

SANDRA ELIEN: Because then a space is created to be able to have a conversation about what's difficult about this work without fear of judgment, without fear of minimization, feeling like you can really be heard. I think we're making some incredible advancements with recognizing the toll of vicarious trauma in our field.

JANET YASSEN: This toolkit is an opportunity to create a better work environment. It's an invitation to really dig a little deeper,
to step back, to reflect.

WILLIAM PETTY: And to be held accountable for how well do we take care of our employees, who we know we're putting in situations which could adversely affect the quality of their work and the quality of their life. 

Date Created: February 3, 2020