The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) is a first-of-its-kind online resource that helps guide first responder and victim service agencies in becoming vicarious trauma-informed. It contains a Compendium of Resources of nearly 500 existing and new resources including policies, research literature, training materials and links to websites, podcasts, and videos. These resources and tools can help organizations to:
- Support agency leadership’s efforts to promote vicarious trauma response and integrate it into its culture and daily operations
- Assess an agency’s current capacity to address vicarious trauma, identify gaps, and prioritize needs;
- Explore and gather resources and tools to help meet identified organizational needs; and
- Develop a comprehensive plan to address exposure to cumulative single incidents of violence and acts of mass violence and terrorism.
A tool created specifically for the VTT, the Vicarious Trauma Organizational Readiness Guide (VT-ORG), is an organizational assessment tool that measures capacity in five areas of evidence-informed organizational health. The VT-ORG is tailored for each discipline (fire, EMS, law enforcement, victim services), and comes with suggestions for various ways to implement it. The VT-ORG is designed to yield results that can inform organizational next steps and guide exploration of the Toolkit for relevant tools to advance an agency’s vicarious trauma response. Explore the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit and see how it can help your organization become vicarious trauma-informed.
HOW CAN MY AGENCY ACCESS FREE TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE BY VICARIOUS TRAUMA TOOLKIT PROJECT TEAM?
The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) Project’s current funding enables the VTT Team to offer up to six (6) hours of FREE training and/or technical assistance (TTA) in the following areas :
- Training on Vicarious Trauma
Our VTT TA Advisers can deliver training that can help staff and volunteers deepen their knowledge about vicarious trauma, build the organization’s in-house training capacity, and promote discussion about organizational strategies to address vicarious trauma. This training can be provided via webinar or web conference and, on a limited basis, on-site.
- Using the Vicarious Trauma Organizational Readiness Guide (VT-ORG)
The VT-ORG is a tool created specifically for the VTT to help your organization assess its current capacity to address employees’ work-related trauma exposure. This assessment tool takes a broad, multi-level look at the organization’s response to vicarious trauma. Its purpose is to help your organization assess its current strengths and gaps in responding to vicarious trauma, and to use its results to create an action plan. A VTT TA Advisor can help your organization consider ways to use this tool as you further your efforts toward becoming a vicarious trauma-informed organization. An extra bonus is the option of having the VTT Team’s experienced doctoral student administer the assessment for your agency during the stated timeframe and provide a report with the results.
- Setting Priorities
Whether you use the VT-ORG or your own assessment method, the VTT TA Advisors can help your organization determine which gap(s) to consider addressing first and identify next steps.
- Providing Relevant Research and Resources from the VTT to Address Organizational Needs
Using the priorities your agency identifies, a VTT TA Advisor can provide guidance for your search of the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit for relevant research literature, resources and other tools that may help your organization to address your identified gaps.
The VTT Project Team is also conducting workshops at conferences for each of the disciplines that can benefit by using the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit. Check out the NEU events Calendar to see when we’ll be at a conference near you!
Contact OVC TTAC for questions about training or technical assistance on the toolkit:
TTAC@ovcttac.org or 1–866–682–8822
ABOUT THE VICARIOUS TRAUMA TOOLKIT (VTT ) PROJECT
Since being awarded federal Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime funding in 2014, the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice at Northeastern University has been leading the effort to create a first-of-its-kind and state-of-the-field online resource for victim assistance, emergency medical services, fire and law enforcement organizations to address vicarious trauma. Literature and resource materials have been widely researched, compiled and vetted, and a rudimentary Toolkit was pilot-tested by the intended disciplines in seven communities with diverse demographics in all regions of the United States.
The national, interdisciplinary Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) Project Team worked to ensure that the VTT will be the most comprehensive and highest quality central repository of resources available to date for agencies and organizations seeking to become “vicarious trauma-informed.” The project’s overarching goal is to ultimately make a difference in the lives of first responders and victim assistance providers, to help ensure their health and well-being and to sustain the delivery of the highest quality services to those in need. We know that the most valuable resources are those actually being effectively used in the field. This project continuously broadened its literature and internet searches and cast a wide net into the targeted fields of practice to amass the research and tools ultimately incorporated into its content. As such, the Toolkit is inclusive of the most useful and relevant policies, procedures, practices and programs currently being utilized within the first responder and victim assistance fields.
In addition, the pilot study helped to refine a tool that was developed expressly for the Toolkit and has a two-fold purpose. The Vicarious Trauma Organizational Readiness Guide (VT-ORG) enables an agency to assess its strengths and gaps in core areas of organizational health. It is also designed to assist the Toolkit user in navigating its contents to find the resources needed to address identified gaps. The final VT-ORG is the outcome of one year of pilot study, user review and feedback, and extensive application of the relevant evidence.
The pilot study and two national summits of experts from diverse disciplines illuminated additional gaps in resources. The project team reviewed the gap analysis and determined that some of the priority gaps identified were ones that could filled, at least in part, by collaboratively creating new tools. These tools include a set of six guidelines for agencies and organizations seeking to become vicarious trauma-informed and PowerPoint presentations with detailed instructor notes tailored to assist agencies of each targeted discipline in raising staff and leadership’s awareness about vicarious trauma.
In addition, short educational videos were recommended for inclusion in the Toolkit. As such, two videos were produced, one for victim services and one for first responders.
Each video accessed from the VTT Home Page provides a general overview of vicarious trauma. In addition, there is an introduction to the Toolkit, and testimonials from experts in each discipline on the duty and responsibility agencies and organizations have to address vicarious trauma. Content for the videos was drawn from field interviews conducted with diverse professionals from our intended disciplines.
PILOT SITES APPLAUDED:
Northeastern University’s Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice is grateful for the seven pilot sites across the United States for lending their individual and collective time and experience over a 3-month period to test the rudimentary Vicarious Trauma Toolkit and first draft of the Vicarious Trauma Organizational Readiness Guide (VT-ORG).
Click here to read more about the pilot sites and their locations.
- An extensive search and review of literature and internet resources;
- A national survey of, and continued outreach to, the field to acquire and assess existing policies, procedures, practices and programs;
- A gap analysis to determine what is lacking in the identification, prevention, and treatment of the effects of vicarious trauma;
- Development of the Vicarious Trauma Organizational Readiness Guide (VT-ORG) and other new tools to fill identified gaps;
- Refinement of the VT-ORG based on evidence from the fields of organizational psychology and development;
- A compilation of training and technical assistance resources for the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit.