Trauma exposure among professionals employed at medico-legal organisations can result in adverse physical and psychological health outcomes. While the presence, impact and management of trauma exposure has been the subject of research for other professionals, little is known about the Australian medico-legal workforce’s experiences of workplace trauma exposure and the strategies shown to be effective to ameliorate the impact.
To identify the presence, nature and impact of trauma exposure, and interventions for managing its negative impact among employees of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) and Coroners Court of Victoria (CCOV).
We will use a mixed method approach comprising: 1) a population-based survey of staff; 2) semi-structured interviews with key informants; and 3) a systematic literature review. Descriptive and multivariate statistical techniques will be used to analyse quantitative survey data and coding processes using an inductive thematic analysis of survey and interview data. The systematic review will be conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) protocol.
Anticipated outcomes and dissemination
This project will inform the development of evidence-based intervention strategies to prepare and support the VIFM and CCOV workforce to identify the risk and reduce the adverse impacts of trauma exposure. To ensure feasibility and acceptability for all key stakeholders, an intervention and implementation plan will be co-designed with the VIFM and CCOV Senior Executive Group, Department of Justice and Community Safety, and support services.
The intervention and implementation plan will be evidence-based and stakeholder informed to ensure it is translated and embedded into workplace practices. It is anticipated that by recognising and managing the adverse impacts of trauma exposure in the VIFM and CCOV workforce, improvements in service delivery, absenteeism, burnout, workforce retention and personal wellbeing can be achieved.