Professionals throughout the criminal justice system are exposed to the aftermath of violent crime and its victims. These individuals may include forensic nurses, crime scene investigators, forensic practitioners, medicolegal death investigators, and other professionals in related fields. Research has shown that individuals exposed to disturbing situations may present symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and many rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse and other forms of self-medication. This phenomenon is known as vicarious trauma because the person affected was exposed to the trauma through the course of their work and did not experience it themselves. Additionally, the police culture in which many forensic professionals operate tends to stress self-reliance, and many have reported a reluctance to seek assistance. Previous research efforts have examined resources and coping mechanisms for first responders, such as EMTs and police officers, but few have been focused on forensic professionals. This webinar series explores common strategies and resources derived from existing research and offers guidance to forensic practitioners and the broader criminal justice community on how they can be leveraged. Furthermore, recommended methods to maintain work force resiliency will be discussed.


If you are performing research or have a unique perspective to share on the topic of vicarious trauma and would like to use the FTCoE platform to showcase your work to the community, please contact us at Research can be funded by the NIJ, other forensic funding agencies, or internally funded by your own institution. Our goal is to disseminate resources and best practices that have the potential to impact the criminal justice community as a whole!

Things to Know

The Forensic Workforce Resiliency: Vicarious Trauma & Workplace Stress Webinar Series is brought to you by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.

A certificate of completion is available for all who register and attend these webinars.

Not able to attend these LIVE webinars? No worries, we archive every webinar we host! The archival webinars are typically available for viewing 7-10 business days after the date of the LIVE webinar.

Attend our Live Webinars

Digital and Multimedia Forensics: The Impact of Disturbing Media
Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Speaker: Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  


Watch our Archived Webinars

The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit – an Evidence-informed Resource for Organizations
Speakers: Dr. Beth E. Molnar & Karen Irene Kalergis, MA
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  

Psychological Survival in a Violent Career
Speaker(s): Dr. David Christiansen
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  

Additional Resources

Just Science Podcast Episode on Forensic Advancement: Just Psychological Resiliency
Just Science interviews Dr. David Christiansen, a licensed psychologist in the State of Colorado, about psychological survival in a violent career. Listen here.

Archived Webinar from RTI International
Join RTI International for their webinar (originally presented October 10th, 2018) on “Health, Stress, and Wellness in Policing: Current Issues and Emergent Solutions.” View event details and register here.