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  • Vicarious Trauma
  • Volume 9 | Winter 2008

from the chair

The Honorable Pamila Brown

Dear Colleagues,

I am honored to bring you this edition of the Commission’s eNewsletter, focusing on the impact that working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence has on legal professionals, and effective ways to address it.

Vicarious trauma, secondary trauma, burn out, and related terms have been used to describe the symptoms and experiences of those working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. However, until recently, there was no specific research about the experience of legal professionals working with victims and the unique contours of that relationship in developing, identifying and responding to the needs of lawyers serving victims. Moreover, it has only been in the last few years that attorneys have openly spoken about the need to care for themselves by addressing the trauma they experience doing this work and exploring effective ways to do so. It is now understood that some form of trauma is experienced by lawyers in addition to advocates, social workers, judges and others who devote their work to helping others who are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse and that it should be addressed in order to enable us to continue to sustain ourselves in this important work.

We are fortunate to have two articles that provide invaluable information about this topic for lawyers. A recent study conducted by Dr. Andrew Levin regarding the experiences of attorneys and law students working with victims of domestic violence and criminal attorneys found that attorneys experience secondary trauma and burnout more than mental health workers and social service workers. Read More...

INSIDE THIS EDITION

EXPERT INSIGHTS
Secondary Trauma and Burnout in Attorneys: Effects of Work with Clients Who are Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuses

Healing Ourselves

PRACTICE TIPS
Here are ways to start implementing our experts’ insights today . . . Read More...

TRAUMA AND SELF-CARE RESOURCES
Andrew P. Levin and Scott Greisberg, Vicarious Trauma in Attorneys, 24 Pace L. Rev. 245 (2004).

Peter G. Jaffe et al, Vicarious Trauma in Judges: The Personal Challenge of Dispensing Justice, 54 (4) Juv. & Fam. Ct J. 1 (2003).

Christina Baldwin, The Seven Whispers (2002).

David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity (2002).

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