Ministry targets secondary trauma among professionals

March 24, 2024 7:30 am

The Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Protection has initiated discussions aimed at addressing secondary trauma among professionals assisting survivors of sexual offenses.

Permanent Secretary Eseta Nadakuitavuki highlighted this during the Women Invigorating the Nation Convention.

SLS Legal Managing Partner Susan Serukai raised concerns about the mental health and well-being of lawyers who represent victims of rape and sexual assault.

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Is there any rehab for these lawyers? It’s called secondary trauma. Not everyone knows about that, so one has to take the victim to the stand, and if you have a child, as young as three or five years old, to take the stand, for lawyers to take the stand and actually project the evidence, are there avenues for women who are actually affected by the secondary trauma?

Ministry of Women Permanent Secretary Eseta Nadakuitavuki confirms they are exploring comprehensive strategies to deal with secondary trauma.

That is the subject that we are actually talking about in our own ministry. We also have social workers that come in contact with victims, and that is something that we are looking at in the next 12 months: to actually support our team in receiving proper professional counseling because they need it. You know, some of them are coming to us and say they haven’t slept for two days and hearing these horror stories that come from the victims, so we feel for them. Now that you said about the legal fraternity, we will also look into that.

Secondary trauma, also known as compassion fatigue, is a condition that can affect professionals who are exposed to the suffering of others on a regular basis.