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A Practical Introduction to Trauma Informed Work

This course is a part of the 2nd EFRJ Winter Academy in 2024. Read more about the event and sign here

This practice-based course is designed for facilitators and service providers, as well as academics interested in enhancing their work with practical foundations of trauma-informed practice. Participants will learn about trauma and its impact, explore ways to integrate trauma-informed practice in a range of settings and consider its intersection with restorative justice. Topics include recognising trauma, understanding the impact of trauma, the relationship between trauma and offending behaviour and the role of shame. The course also addresses the challenges of implementing trauma-informed practices within the criminal justice system, as well as addressing vicarious and secondary trauma, promoting self-care and adopting team-based care approaches. The course takes an interactive approach to learning and provides participants with tools to apply in their own contexts.

Aim of the course

Participants will be familiar with trauma, the effects of trauma and will be able to work in a trauma informed way when engaging in restorative justice or other services for victims and offenders

Learning outcomes

Participants will: 

  • Understand the neurobiology of trauma and its impact on development and behaviour
  • Understand the different manifestations of trauma, including vicarious and secondary trauma
  • Recognise and understand the impact and multiple effects of trauma on individuals
  • Be familiar with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study and its implications, particularly for health and inequalities
  • Recognise the impact of shame and culture on trauma
  • Explore the integration of trauma-informed approaches into everyday practice
  • Understand the role of trauma in the criminal justice system, the challenges of trauma-informed work and its intersection with restorative justice

The course will cover

  • Definition and types of trauma
  • The neurobiology of trauma: signs and effects of trauma and its impact on the brain, body and health.
  • The role of shame in trauma
  • The impact of culture on trauma
  • Complex trauma and its relationship to offending behaviour
  • Key principles of trauma informed practice
  • The intersection between restorative justice and trauma-informed practice 
  • The challenges of working in a trauma-informed way within the justice system
  • Vicarious and secondary trauma & the importance of self-care
  • Trauma-informed teams

As a preparation, participants will be given case studies prior to the course, these will provide the narrative for the training course. 

Claudia Christen-Schneider and Gael Cochrane


Claudia Christen-Schneider and Gael Cochrane

Claudia Christen-Schneider is a criminologist and a restorative justice practitioner. As founder and current president of the Swiss RJ Forum, she is actively involved in promoting, developing and implementing restorative justice in Switzerland. She has led several pilot projects in Swiss prisons and facilitates direct offender-victim dialogues. She is currently researching and writing a book on the intersection of restorative justice and trauma informed practice, and the role of community in such processes. She is part of the research group at the University of Portsmouth and is a member of the advisory board of Nomos Publishing's new publication series on issues of resocialisation, victim protection and restorative justice (Seehaus plus). She is a guest lecturer at the Bern University of Applied Sciences and is involved in designing and delivering training on restorative justice. Claudia obtained her MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Portsmouth (UK) and studied Restorative Justice at SFU in Canada. She is a Board member of the EFRJ.

Gael Cochrane is a trainer and the Learning Development and Innovation Lead at Community Justice Scotland. She has been delivering training to a wide variety of participants for the past 21 years. She has been working on the development and delivery of training programmes including Mental Health Advocacy training, education programmes about Drugs, Alcohol and risk taking behaviour, Peer Education and Resilience, Carer Awareness (to healthcare professionals) , Sexual Health and Relationships (to young people) , Self Esteem and Resilience with Young People (Youth workers and teachers), New Psychoactive Substances (to Drug and Alcohol partnerships) and Equality Act Training (for Housing workers), Drugs, Alcohol and Risk taking courses, FASD awareness, Children Affected by Parental Substance Use, parenting Humanism courses, and other bespoke training. Gael has provided training to Prison Officers in Child Protection and Families Affected by Imprisonment. For the past two and half years Gael has been delivering core training to Justice Social Workers and other Justice Professionals on a variety of risk assessment tools, Group Work and Restorative Justice.