As advocates, we spend a lot of time thinking about how oppression and power dynamics operate in the lives of survivors we are working with, and this Special Collection asks us to integrate a trauma-informed lens into our work. But do our agencies themselves embody these values? Applying an empowerment-based and trauma-informed approach to our agency structures means creating nonhierarchical, participatory, and transparent organizational processes, and developing ways of working and supporting our colleagues that are supported by an understanding of trauma.
Creating empowerment-based and trauma-informed agencies and human resources policies is necessary to providing trauma-informed services and advocacy. This includes making sure that human resource functions are trauma-informed. Supervisors, in particular, should be aware of the ways in which trauma can affect relationships at work. DV victim advocates are routinely exposed to secondary traumatic stress (sometimes called vicarious trauma), and many workers in the field have trauma in their own backgrounds.
Self-reflection and self-care thus need to be actively supported. The resources in this section are designed to facilitate a critical reexamination of human resources policies with an eye toward intentionally putting policies in place that fully support staff in doing this work.
The Trauma Stewardship Institute
"Raising awareness and responding to the cumulative toll on those who are exposed to the suffering, hardship, crisis, or trauma of humans, living beings, or the planet itself. " The Trauma Stewardship Institute website provides keynote talks, organizational consulting, workshops and retreats, and disaster response assistance based on the decades of life experience of the Institute’s founder, Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky.