A Trauma-Informed Approach to Violence Investigation
Aug. 15, 2017
Employer liability spans a broad range of potential issues. For example, an employer may still be held liable for the show even when another employee's acts were intentional - such as when committing an act of violence or psychological abuse against a worker. However, by responding to all reports of workplace incidents and implementing trauma-informed investigations, employers and human resource personnel can confront this problem aggressively and promptly to avoid further problems.
Effects of Workplace Violence
Physical, psychological, and sexual violence perpetrated in the workplace can create lasting effects. Often, such acts deeply traumatize victims, damaging their emotional and psychological well-being significantly. To managers not informed about these topics, this often looks like a "crazy" employee or group complaining about many seemingly minor things. When employers do not respond with trauma-informed investigations, investigators may appear insensitive, uninformed, and disinterested. Creating this environment can easily make victims feel re-victimized. In addition, this approach may cause other victims not to report such incidents, creating a hostile work environment. These situations can further escalate, making victims even more susceptible to harm in the workplace. When employers and human resources managers are not trained in trauma-informed investigations, they may not understand how violent victims react to trauma. This may lead to dismissing reports of victims and not preventing future violence in the workplace.
Trauma-informed investigations emphasize responding to reports of workplace incidents directly and sensitively, considering the traumatic effect these acts had on the victim. Additionally, trauma-informed investigations identify potential triggers so that consideration is given to the consequences of re-triggering victims. They focus on protecting the emotional and psychological health of victims. These investigations empower victims while reserving judgment against the alleged attacker until all relevant information is uncovered. At the same time, efficient methods are utilized to conduct an inquiry efficiently. Trauma-informed investigations should focus on considering the impact on the victim from the first disclosure of the workplace incident until the final decision is made. These investigations may take longer or be more complicated than usual due to the impact of trauma on the victim. For example, victims frequently have trouble remembering the details or may remember details out of order. However, memories may come back in spurts so investigators can respond when new information is available. Employers and human resource managers can often supplement what a victim has said with other non-verbal communication or evidence collection.
Implementing New Policies
One of the most effective ways to combat abusive behaviors in the workplace is to implement new policies that address this issue. Policies may be included in a more thorough employee handbook or stand-alone. These investigations should emphasize providing fair and balanced inquiries that consider the potential impact trauma can have on the victim. Individuals responsible for such studies may be trained on how to conduct fair and balanced investigations. They may learn about the effects of trauma and how it may affect victims. Professional investigative teams, like the Lynch Law Firm, can train key personnel to conduct these investigations effectively.
Cite this article: Lynch, N. (2017). A Trauma-Informed Approach to Violence Investigation. Available: https://www.lynchlf.com/blog/a-trauma-informed-approach-to-violence-investigation/