Towards Trauma-Informed Legal Practice: A Review

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13218719.2020.1719377

ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 20.7

Posted: 1 May 2020 Last revised: 27 May 2020

See all articles by Colin G. James

Colin G. James

ANU College of Law - School of Legal Practice. Australian National University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 11, 2020

Abstract

Vicarious or secondary trauma experience has always been part of legal practice although many do not acknowledge the risk it can have on the mental health, well-being and performance of legal professionals. The listening to, observing and then detailing of traumatic events for the purposes of legal process in some cases may harm lawyers who need to work closely with clients, victims and witnesses. This article reviews the research on trauma in many areas of professional human services that could inform and improve our understanding of legal practice. It examines the discursive history of trauma and recent studies on lawyer well-being, before discussing the controversies about recognising vicarious trauma and the stigma against mental health concerns in the legal profession. The article concludes by reviewing options to assist law firms in considering trauma-informed policy, practices and supervision strategies and to help individual lawyers recognise the value of self-care.

Keywords: burnout; indirect trauma; post-traumatic stress disorder; secondary trauma; self-care; stigma; supervision; trauma-informed; vicarious trauma; well-being

Suggested Citation

James, Dr. Colin G., Towards Trauma-Informed Legal Practice: A Review (February 11, 2020). Psychiatry, Psychology and Law https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13218719.2020.1719377 , ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 20.7, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3589961

Dr. Colin G. James (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law - School of Legal Practice. Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, ACT
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://legalworkshop.law.anu.edu.au/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
135
PlumX Metrics