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:
- typically stems from the after-effects of the primary trauma
- presents greatest risk of re-traumatization during the investigative process and treatment of the victim
- is frequently caused accidentally in the course of talking to or interacting with the victim
- 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.