Vicarious Trauma – Managing the Inevitable

October 8, 2018

The annual STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held at QT, Gold Coast on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 December 2018 with optional workshops on Wednesday 5 December.  

The objective of the conference is to provide a platform for a unified voice to share, network and collaborate on the challenges and successes of behaviour change. Our human basic needs of comfort and security are violated when violence is common, impacting home life, the work place and the community.

Joining us at the conference is Dr Nicole Manktelow, Director Counselling Services with Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia who will present on ‘Vicarious Trauma – Managing the Inevitable’.


The term ‘vicarious trauma’ is often associated with the “cost of caring” for others. It refers to the detrimental impacts suffered by people who are indirectly exposed to traumatic material, in particular workers in ‘helping professions’ such as Disaster & Emergency Services, Police, Health, Social Work and Counselling. Vicarious trauma can have deleterious, cumulative and prolonged effects on individual’s mental and physical well-being and can seriously undermine their ability to work in a role that includes responding to traumatised clients. It presents a serious work, health and safety risk for employers, and can produce significant human and financial costs in the following areas: employee physical and mental wellbeing, work performance, unplanned absences, attrition rates, and compensation claims, and workplace culture. According to research the risk of vicarious traumatisation for professionals who work in trauma context cannot be fully eliminated. The effects of vicarious trauma can be however ameliorated if they are made conscious and addressed proactively by organisations and individuals. This presentation will introduce participants to the construct of vicarious trauma and provide a global overview of strategies that organisations can adopt to manage vicarious trauma effectively, including ways they can build a culture of psychological safety in the workplace.


Dr Nicole Manktelow is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years clinical experience. In her current role she works as the Director of Counselling Services for Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, based in Sydney. The organisation works with people impacted by Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and the effects of developmental trauma through 24/7 crisis phone, online and face to face counselling. In 2007 the organisation won a WorkCover New South Wales award for ‘The Best Solution to an Identified Occupational Health and Safety Issue’ for its Vicarious Trauma program.

For further information on the 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference please visit

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