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

Watch our Archived Webinars

Tackling Employee Wellness: The Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Lab Approach
Speaker: Jody Wolf
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  

Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Resiliency for Forensic Science Professionals
Speakers: Andrew Levin, Jonathan McGrath, Heidi Putney, & Danielle Crimmins
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  

Handling Difficult and Disturbing Forensic Cases for Coroners and Medical Examiners
Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Brondolo
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  

Digital and Multimedia Forensics: The Impact of Disturbing Media
Speaker: Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar
Click here to learn more about this webinar and register.  

The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit – an Evidence-informed Resource for Organizations (ABMDI Credits available upon completion)
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.  

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

Additional Resources

Just Science Podcast Episode on Applied Leadership: Just Applied Leadership for Resiliency in CSIs
Just Science interviews Ashley Church and Erin West, founders of Gap Science, to discuss stress and resiliency in crime scene investigators. Listen here.

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.

Just Science Podcast Episode on Medicolegal Death Investigation: Just Being Vocal About Vicarious Trauma
Just Science interviews Kelly Keyes, with guest host Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller, to give an overview about the coroners and medical examiners professions and to identify key topics for discussion in the fields today. Listen here.

Just Science Special Release Podcast Episode: Just Building Workforce Resiliency  
Just Science interviews Amy Jeanguenat and Andrew Levin, two experts in the field of workforce resiliency, about the impact of vicarious trauma on forensic scientists, analysts, and first responders. Listen here.

National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum: Forensic Workforce Safety and Resiliency
One of the panels at the NIJ Policy and Practice Forum that aimed to address vicarious trauma among the discussion of the consequences of the opioid national epidemic, including the impact it has had on public safety, public health, and the criminal justice response. Watch here.

Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
The Office for Victims of Crime’s Vicarious Trauma Toolkit includes tools and resources tailored specifically to those working in fields exposed to vicarious trauma that provide the knowledge and skills necessary for organizations to address the vicarious trauma needs of their staff. Read more here.

ASCLD Report: Trauma and Stress in the Field of Forensic Science
Read the report here.

ASCLD Report: Management Detection and Mitigation of Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Burnout in Forensic Practitioners
Read the report here.