On September 28th the Vicarious Trauma Prevention and Awareness Toolkit website was launched by the Minister for Workplace Safety, Ingrid Stitt. The event was opened by Karen Batt (Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, CPSU), and Colin Radford (Chief Executive of WorkSafe Victoria) also spoke at the launch. The speakers highlighted the significant impact of Vicarious Trauma (VT) on workers and their families, and the importance of a primary prevention focus through evidence-based initiatives like the toolkit.
Funded by the WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund, CPSU in partnership with the Departments of Justice and Community Services (DJCS) and Family, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and ISCRR have worked together the last 3 years to develop an evidence-informed Vicarious Trauma Prevention and Awareness toolkit.
VT is indirect trauma experienced when an individual is regularly exposed to information or details of a traumatic event. It is cumulative and can overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope. Further detail on VT is available on the Toolkit website. Additionally, ISCRR’s blog video provides a succinct introduction to VT.
A VT toolkit was developed to provide a preventative approach to dealing with exposure to traumatic content within the workplace. Six sites within DJCS and DFFH participated in the pilot.
Participants in the pilot commended the success in giving them a better understanding of VT and normalising the language, allowing them to identify it and talk about it transparently.
The program pilot was successful in introducing processes for change and developing a preventative approach in dealing with VT.
ISCRR’s involvement included informing the project, through a literature review, of prevention and intervention strategies for cumulative trauma.
Additionally, ISCRR was responsible for evaluating the ability of the toolkit to create a safer working environment, by allowing the Victorian Government departments to design a context specific response to VT risk.
Karen Batt commended ISCRR’s work in providing crucial evaluation allowing the project to be adapted and realigned throughout. This enabled the creation of a more responsive tool.
The newly launched Preventing Vicarious Trauma website hosts a range of easy-too-use resources available to be adapted to any workplace. Workplaces and employees interested in learning about VT prevention are encouraged to access the toolkit at http://vtpat.org.au/