In the last 12 years, working as a trauma specialist psychotherapist, I have seen an increase in the demand for trauma therapy. The most poignant incidents where I have supported organisations and individuals include the London 7/7 bombings (UK, July 2005); Syrian civil war (Syria, ongoing since 2011); Ebola outbreak (West Africa, from 2014); Search and Rescue refugee crisis (Mediterranean, from 2015); Nepalese earthquake (Nepal, July 2015); Westminster terrorist attack (London UK, March 2017); London Bridge terrorist attack (UK, June 2017); Brussels bombing (Belgium, March 2016); anti-government protests, Istanbul (Turkey, July 2016); Juba attacks on aid workers (South Sudan, July 2016); and the Grenfell Tower fire (London UK, June 2017).
To read more please download the article…12 years of trauma_CaW January 2018_Dunkley
Working in the field of trauma, our self-care needs to be a priority. But what is the responsibility of the organisation to care for the carers? Here Fiona Dunkley considers what makes a difference to staying well at work.
I have worked as a therapist for over fifteen years – working with human trafficking cases in the NHS, supporting Transport for London after the 7/7 bombings and helping humanitarian aid workers in war zones. In that time I have been close to burnout and seen first-hand how those who work in the caring profession are at risk of burnout and vicarious trauma. Increasingly, I’ve become interested in how we support the carers of our world at an individual and organisational level. This can become more challenging during times of cutbacks and austerity when there is less resource to support staff. However, how we take care of ourselves when hearing distressing stories all the time, particularly if we work in the field of trauma, is something that we need to attend to constantly.
Terrorist attacks in the UK are rare, although taking into account the increase in activity recently we need to be alert and vigilant to any suspicious activity. The threat to the UK from international terrorism is currently set at ‘severe’, meaning an attack is ‘highly likely’.
Firearms officers are patrolling London’s streets in unmarked cars as part of a heightened security arrangement and the UK emergency responders, including the police, fire, military and ambulance services, have an excellent reputation for their ability to prevent and respond to a terror attack. It is difficult to prepare for this type of attack due to its random nature. Below we share some useful information to help us stay safe and healthy in the unfortunate circumstance of finding ourselves caught up in such an attack.
Another story of child sexual abuse hits the headlines in today’s papers. Unfortunately we will never eliminate sexual abuse from our society, but we can substantially improve the treatment of those reporting allegations and the legal process that follows. Changes can be made to our system that can reduce the number of cases and protect the innocent.
Jimmy Savile’s case has highlighted the perverse and injustice system that supposedly protects the vulnerable. The newspapers are saturated with stories of the vulnerable being abused. The witnesses that try to speak out against bad practice are condemned and silenced. It is time to change our system so that those who are brave enough to speak out are heard. We all have a part to play in enabling this to happen. We all hear and see things that make us feel uncomfortable; we all need to embrace our courage and speak out.
A major crime study showed that, ‘two million people suffered domestic abuse at the hands of partners or relatives last year. About 1.2 million women and 800,000 men were victims of physical, emotional and sexual attacks, (Hayden Smith, Feb 13, Metro).
As with childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence victims also feel if they report what has happened to them they will be blamed or accused in some way for the crimes that they have suffered. ‘A recent report found domestic violence had gone up by 17% nationally over the recession’ (Pippa Crerar, Nov 12, Evening Standard).