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. Furthermore, recommended methods to maintain work force resiliency will be discussed.
If you are performing research or have a unique perspective to share on the topic of vicarious trauma and would like to use the FTCOE platform to showcase your work to the community, please contact us at ForensicCOE@rti.org. Research can be funded by the NIJ, other forensic funding agencies, or internally funded by your own institution. Our goal is to disseminate resources and best practices that have the potential to impact the criminal justice community as a whole!
The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit - An Evidence-Informed Resource for Organizations
This webinar originally occurred on September 13, 2018
Presenters: Dr. Beth E. Molnar & Karen Irene Kalergis
**ABMDI credits available upon completion of webinar.**
Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Resiliency for Forensic Science Professionals
This webinar originally occurred on June 11, 2020
Presenters: Dr. Andrew Levin, Dr. Jonathan McGrath, Heidi Putney, & Danielle Crimmins
- National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum: Forensic Workforce Safety and Resiliency
- Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
- ASCLD Report: Trauma and Stress in the Field of Forensic Science
- ASCLD Report: Management Detection and Mitigation of Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Burnout in Forensic Practitioners
Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar series are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.