Participants will learn about the Vicarious Trauma Organizational Readiness Guide (VT-ORG), an evidence-informed assessment of an organization’s current capacity to address vicarious trauma.
Vicarious trauma is an occupational challenge for forensic science professionals whose work entails continuous contact with victims of crime and violence as well as the analysis of traumatic material. This webinar introduces the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) and its premise that while the exposure to vicarious trauma may be inevitable, potentially negative consequences can be mitigated by organizations accepting responsibility to act and becoming vicarious trauma-informed.
Examples will be provided on how to search the toolkit’s Compendium of Resources to find tools appropriate for forensic organizations. Developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, the toolkit is available for exploring before the webinar: http://vtt.ovc.ojp.gov/.
Detailed Learning Objectives:
- Raise awareness about the concept of a vicarious trauma-informed organization;
- Understand the purpose and use of the VTT; and
- Demonstrate the use of the VT-ORG to identify and support next steps for agencies.
This webinar is part of the webinar series entitled “Crime Scene to Courtroom: Workplace Stress and Vicarious Trauma Throughout the Criminal Justice System.”
Professionals throughout the criminal justice system are exposed to the aftermath of violent crime and its victims. These individuals may include forensic nurses, crime scene investigators, forensic practitioners, medicolegal death investigators, and other professionals in related fields. Research has shown that individuals exposed to disturbing situations may present symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and many rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse and other forms of self-medication. This phenomenon is known as vicarious trauma because the person affected was exposed to the trauma through the course of their work and did not experience it themselves. Additionally, the police culture in which many forensic professionals operate tends to stress self-reliance, and many have reported a reluctance to seek assistance. Previous research efforts have examined resources and coping mechanisms for first responders, such as EMTs and police officers, but few have been focused on forensic professionals. This webinar series explores common strategies and resources derived from existing research and offers guidance to forensic practitioners and the broader criminal justice community on how they can be leveraged.
Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.