Vicarious trauma

Vicarious trauma

Vicarious or secondary trauma occurs when someone experiences trauma indirectly, for example hearing the stories of someone who has been affected by trauma. The effects of vicarious trauma are cumulative, and often play out over a period of time without the individual being aware of the cause.

The nature of some work roles can also contribute to vicarious trauma symptoms, and taking a pro-active role is beneficial to the workplace as well as individuals. It is essential that employers take seriously their ‘duty of care’ to provide a safe workplace from a mental as well as physical health perspective.