Campus workshop brings trauma-informed training to front-line staff

Posted on March 8th, 2018

Sexualized and domestic violence can be difficult subjects to talk about, but 300 members of the UVic and Greater Victoria communities came together on campus last month to do exactly that.

On Feb. 13-14, UVic and the Saanich Police Regional Domestic Violence Unit, in partnership with the BC Post-Secondary Counsellors Association, invited clinical psychologist Lori Haskell to campus for a two-day workshop on trauma-informed approaches to working with survivors of domestic and sexualized violence.

Haskell, an academic research associate at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, focuses her research and practice on victimization and its effects, violence prevention and the effects of trauma on psychological and physiological development.

The workshop was attended by front-line and student services staff from UVic as well as local police, members of the legal community, psychologists, counsellors, social workers and other human services professionals from across the province.

“I attended this workshop to better support my team in working with the complex and sometimes confusing ways that students who have experienced trauma might present themselves at our centre,” said Tricia Best, associate director of International Student Services.

Workshop attendees learned how trauma can affect the structure of the brain and how these neurobiological changes can impact a survivor’s memory and sense of time and order.

“The actions survivors take, even though they may seem illogical to an observer, can be perfectly logical considering the effects that sexualized violence can have on a survivor’s brain,” said Roger John, counsellor for Indigenous students at UVic.

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