"Chronic exposure to trauma has the power to overwhelm all who work in domestic and sexual violence organizations. Understanding vicarious trauma helps staff and organizations mitigate the negative impacts and build staff resilience."
- Lisa Tieszen, Principal and Founder, ResilienceWorks
Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
Office for Victims of Crime
The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) was developed on the premise that exposure to the traumatic experiences of other people—known as vicarious trauma—is an inevitable occupational challenge for the fields of victim services, emergency medical services, fire services, law enforcement, and other allied professionals.
Vicarious Trauma Resources
Headington Institute offers education and support for humanitarian workers and first responders. It includes subpages about vicarious trauma, preventing burnout and handouts for managers.
Guiding Organizational Responses to Vicarious Trauma: New Tools and Strategies for Success
Jane Doe Inc. Training Institute and ISJ Webinar
By Janet Fine and Lisa Tieszen, National Experts and Directors of the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) Project, Northeastern University’s Institute on Urban Research and Practice, and the United States Office for Victims of Crime, Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC-TTAC). This webinar anchored our series on Trauma and Resilience by offering tools and strategies for sexual and domestic violence organizations, highlighting the newly released OVC-funded Vicarious Trauma Toolkit to support diverse organizations in assessing their internal strategies, designing action plans and downloading vetted, evidence-informed resources to become vicarious trauma-informed.
Organizational Prevention of Vicarious Trauma
Holly Bell, Shanti Kulkarni, & Lisa Dalton, Families in Society
In this article, the authors review the growing literature on the organizational components of vicarious trauma and suggest changes in organizational culture, workload, group support, supervision, self-care, education, and work environment that may help prevent vicarious trauma in staff.
Secondary Traumatic Stress
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
A website that offers information about secondary traumatic stress as well as helpful resources for those impacted, know someone who is impacted, or are service providers. There are also strategies to build resiliency to traumatic stress on both an organizational and individual level.
ProQol: Professional Quality of Life Measure
Research Consortium on Gender-based Violence from the University of Michigan
Developed byresearcher Dr. Beth Hudnall Stamm, ProQol is an assessment tool of burnout, secondary traumatic stress and compassion satisfaction in multiple languages. She explains the theory behind these terms, provides an extensive bibliography as well as Powerpoints presentations.
The Trauma Stewardship Institute
Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is the founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others.In her 19 minute TedTalk, Beyond the Cliff, Lipsky offers a window into the cumulative toll that can occur when exposed to the suffering, hardship, crisis or trauma of humans, other living beings, or the planet itself. Held within a larger context of systematic oppression and liberation theory, she dives into what gets hard and how to work toward reconciling it both individually and collectively.
Vicarious Trauma and Resilience
Reprinted from S. M. Berthold, 2014, Sacramento, CA, with permission from NetCE. Visit the course website. NetCE, 2014
Continuing education course addresses vicarious trauma and resilience, explains vicarious trauma fundamentals and management strategies, and offers tips for organizations.
Secondary Traumatic Stress Resources Page
Secondary Traumatic Stress Consortium
This comprehensive list includes resources in multiple forms: apps, books, assessment tools, reports, and websites. Resources cover a wide variety of subjects related to traumatic stress.
Tools to Reduce Vicarious Trauma/ Secondary Trauma and Compassion Fatigue
This accessible article and list of resources starts by defining various key terms related to vicarious or secondary trauma and walks readers through a process of identifying what they are struggling with personally. The article lists multiple resources for coping with traumatic stress and compassion fatigue.
Beyond the Cliff | Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
In this 19 minute talk, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, offers a window into the cumulative toll that can occur when exposed to the suffering, hardship, crisis or trauma of humans, other living beings, or the planet itself. Held within a larger context of systematic oppression and liberation theory, she dives into what gets hard and how to work toward reconciling it both individually and collectively.
Compassion Fatigue, Secondary PTSD, Vicarious PTSD, Differences
This short webcast details the differences between compassion fatigue, secondary PTSD, burn out, and caregiver burden. This resource is free, though the organization also offers a DVD available for purchase that further discusses compassion fatigue, preventing it and treating it.
Drowning in Empathy: The Cost of Vicarious Trauma
Caregivers and emergency responders are empathetic individuals who risk suffering from Compassion Fatigue, a form of PTSD that is treatable using the steps described in Amy Cunningham’s 12 minute presentation.
How to Manage Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving
In this 17 minute talk, Patricia Smith, founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, suggests the path to wellness begins with awareness, and recommends simple self-care measures such as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, enjoyable social activities, journaling, and restful sleep. With support, insightful information, and authentic self-care, caregivers can begin to understand the complexity of the emotions they’ve been juggling and, most likely, suppressing.