What is secondary trauma?

Secondary trauma is any new, additional traumatization developed during the process of responding to—or anytime after—an existing traumatic event.

Secondary trauma differs from the initial trauma event in that it:

  1. typically stems from the after-effects of the primary trauma
  2. presents greatest risk of re-traumatization during the investigative process and treatment of the victim
  3. is frequently caused accidentally in the course of talking to or interacting with the victim
  4. can be eliminated and/or reduced greatly by employing evidence-based best-practices in child abuse investigations.

Who experiences secondary trauma?

Anyone professionally or voluntarily working in the field of trauma/crisis response may experience secondary trauma, as well as direct victims and/or those socially/emotionally connected to the victim.

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