Vicarious trauma is an issue that affects up to 85% of ‘helping professions’ according to expert Olga Phoenix.
For lawyers in particular, Steven Doumit, a criminal solicitor for Legal Aid, says that employee assistant programs and debriefing procedures are currently implemented.
However, Magistrate David Heilpern who publicly addressed his own experience with vicarious trauma, believes that the current implements are not enough and further awareness should be raised.
Raqiya Ahmed and Cheryl Till conducted a survey of the public, and found that 3 out of 4 people interviewed are unaware of what vicarious trauma is.
After being given some statistical information, interviewees were asked if they believe enough is being done to raise awareness.
Alisha, a law student at UNSW says: “I never believe debriefing is enough because a lot of issues require follow up. And often in the legal system and in any system in general, they don’t have the resources with which to do that.”
“There’s a need for that to change,” says Ian, an HR consultant from the North Shore.
“I think there should be more,” says Ash, an engineering student.
“The law is always focusing on the greater achievement of society rather than focusing on the individual,” says Haya, a commerce student at the University of Sydney. “It needs to take into consideration how each individual can create a great impact in society.”
“I think it’s something that’s worth putting resources into,” says Alisha.