The effects of vicarious traumatisation upon those working in the justice system in Scotland


The project will explores the experiences of service providers working with girls and young women who have experienced trauma and victimization. The project, which started in January 2017, is using mixed methods, including interviews and psychometric measures, with 25-30 service providers working in either custodial or community-based settings with girls and young women who are involved with / ‘at risk’ of involvement with the justice system. Findings will inform a larger subsequent proposal with an international comparative element

  • Girls and young women in the justice system are widely considered to have experienced high levels of trauma and victimization.
  • As a result of closely working with this group over time, service providers may themselves experience a particular process of traumatisation – vicarious traumatisation (VT)
  • There have been some studies of VT in therapeutic work in the general population, but no previous research in relation to those working with young women in the justice system
  • The project aims to provide an understanding of how the VT may affect the personal and professional lives of those working with this group, and their efforts to help young women
  • How can staff working with traumatised populations best be supported by their organisations ?

The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust.