U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Where Do We Begin?

Blueprint for a Vicarious Trauma-Informed Organization

Much like building a house, an organizational response to vicarious trauma requires vision, commitment, and a methodical approach that starts with laying a foundation and then builds up from there. This blueprint, informed by research and lessons learned from the field, was created as a step-by-step guide to assist organizations in becoming more vicarious trauma-informed. It provides guidance on using the Vicarious Trauma—Organizational Readiness Guide (VT–ORG) to assess your organization’s current capacity as a vicarious trauma-informed organization, and offers suggestions on how to use the free, online repository of policies, research, and websites in the Compendium of Resources, including the New Tools for the Field, created specifically for the VTT.

Blueprint At-A-Glance

Click on each of the steps below for more information.

Step 1. Lay the foundation for success.
Obtain the commitment and support of your organization’s leadership to embark upon this process and have them designate an individual or team to coordinate and guide the effort.

Step 2. Assess current organizational capacity for addressing vicarious trauma.
Use the Vicarious Trauma—Organizational Readiness Guide (VT–ORG) to conduct an evidence-informed assessment of your organization’s current capacity as a vicarious trauma-informed organization. Resources for this step include—

  • sample emails to staff announcing the organizational effort to address vicarious trauma using the VTT and VT–ORG,
  • VT–ORG Scoresheets,
  • an Action Plan template, and
  • a sample report to use as a model to present your assessment results and findings

Step 3: Determine priorities and develop an action plan.
Discuss the VT–ORG findings within each of the five areas of organizational health and identify priorities and a timeline for addressing them. Create a realistic action plan that identifies specific tasks, persons responsible for those tasks, timeframes for completion, and a process for monitoring progress, which may include re-administering the VT–ORG to assess improvements.

Step 4. Explore the VTT for resources to implement your action plan.
Use the priorities and tasks in your action plan to guide your navigation and exploration of the VTT. Gather research, policies, practices, programs, tools, and other resources, including those created expressly for the VTT, to support your organizational efforts to address the needs of your staff.

Next Step