Working with Trauma in the Justice System-Trauma Informed Practice

IfJ CPD Courses

Event details


2 Jul 2024
9 Jul 2024


Registration: 09:15


Zoom Online
United Kingdom

Event Fees

Subsidised two-day course £ 100.00

Booking info

Max participants: 20

Course facilitator(s): Catherine O'Neill and Dr Kimberly Collins

Course facilitator(s) bio:

Catherine O’Neill is a Registered Intermediary in the Justice System, a Speech and Language Therapist and an Arts Psychological Therapist. As a therapist she has worked with adults and children with Communication Needs and Mental Health issues, in a variety of settings including palliative care, acute mental health wards and day hospitals, schools and clinics. She has worked on hundreds of cases involving vulnerable witnesses and defendants, in the Criminal, Family and Tribunal courts. She is currently completing a PhD on: The knowledge and experience of Trauma Informed Practice in the Justice System. She is currently Chair of IfJ and has a firm belief in equality of access to justice for all. Catherine currently runs trainings for the police on communication to Achieve Best Evidence and on Trauma Informed Practice.

Dr Collins is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Teesside University in the North of England.  For the past 16 years she has taught and researched on the best ways to question vulnerable witnesses in the criminal justice system and has practiced as a Registered Intermediary since 2014.  She is the course leader for the Masters in Trauma Informed Practice at Teesside University and delivers the modules ‘Understanding Trauma’ and ‘Working with Traumatised People’.  She also delivers teaching on the police apprenticeships and the MSc in Forensic Psychology.  Her expertise is children’s communication during criminal proceedings, and trauma informed practice, which she has researched and delivered training on both nationally and internationally.  Finally, Dr Collins works as an expert witness where she reviews practice during ABE interviews with children and young people.

Course requirements: IfJ Member

Who is this course for: Intermediaries who would like to understand more about working with trauma in the justice system and trauma-informed practice in general.


This course is an introduction to working with trauma in the Justice System. It is aimed at a range of professionals but principally at Intermediaries. It will build an understanding of the neuroscience of trauma and how this can impact upon people. Drawing from an understanding of the physiology of trauma, this course will explore how Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) can be used effectively. We aim to offer practical suggestions on how to apply this knowledge and how to work more effectively with traumatised individuals. Likewise, we will be considering how to protect from the insidious effects of secondary trauma.

Course Content:

Building on participants’ knowledge about Trauma Informed Practice, the course will:

  • Introduce key trauma theory, drawing on core texts (Herman, Van der Kolk, Porges, Perry)
  • Examine the neuroscience of trauma and the long-term impact of trauma
  • Explore the impact of trauma on communication 
  • Introduce key concepts:
    • dissociation
    • hyper-vigilance
    • window of tolerance
    • emotional regulation
    • secure base (attachment theory)
    • sensory integration-disintegration
  • Use case studies from within the justice system to demonstrate these concepts 
  • Consider how trauma may manifest within the justice system
  • Highlight the importance of safety and creating a safe environment
  • Explore techniques for managing trauma
  • Introduce the notion of secondary (vicarious trauma) and explore secondary trauma in context of the justice system using relevant evidence
  • Explore self-care strategies to prevent and manage secondary trauma
  • Consider the implications of working remotely with trauma
  • Experiential activities will enable an understanding of the effect of trauma, using a variety of approaches to cater for different learning styles

Course Aims/Objectives:

Participants will:

  1. Have an understanding of the different types of trauma and their impacts.
  2. Appreciate the fundamental importance of safety for human beings.
  3. Have an overview of human functioning in conditions of safety and threat.
  4. Understand dissociation as an essential human survival strategy.
  5. Understand how complex trauma impacts upon long-term human functioning.
  6. Understand how complex trauma specifically impacts upon communication.
  7. Understand the concept of the window of tolerance and its relationship to emotional regulation.
  8. Understand the concept of the secure base, attachment theory, attunement and emotional regulation. ACE s-Adverse Childhood Experiences.
  9. Understand the role of Registered Intermediaries in supporting emotional regulation to promote effective communication.
  10. Develop an understanding of secondary (vicarious) trauma.
  11. Appreciate the risks of working with traumatised individuals.
  12. Develop an awareness of strategies to manage the impact of secondary trauma on selves.
  13. Learn different practical approaches to supporting traumatised individuals.
  14. Have an understanding of how visual material / props can assist in when working with traumatised people.
  15. ABEs with TIP knowledge/shame and self-blame.

Course Method:

The workshop is run in the form of a small group training. The presenters will present information and will invite high levels of participation and sharing of knowledge and ideas. Prepared slides/handouts guide the process rather than impart information.
The following materials are provided:

  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Guidance for further reading-Bibliography

- Participants to log on 15 minutes prior to start of each session.

- It is required that all participants keep their cameras on throughout the workshop.

- Participants to complete online feedback form post workshop.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your booking with 14 or more days' notice, you will receive a full refund minus a £5 admin charge. If you cancel your booking with less than 48 hours' notice, we are unfortunately unable to offer a refund. However, you may substitute another delegate or transfer to another course by giving IfJ at least 24 hours’ notice.

In exceptional circumstances IfJ reserve the right to issue a full refund. Please inform us at the time of cancellation of your particular reason for cancelling. If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please do so by emailing:

We will endeavour to respond to all cancellation requests within two working days. Refunds will be made using the same method of payment as you used for the purchase and will be paid within seven days of refund confirmation.

Places are limited to a maximum of 20 participants. There is a minimum requirement of 12 participants. If the minimum number is not met, IfJ reserve the right to cancel the course with at least two weeks' notice and a full refund will be issued.