Trauma-Informed Leadership: Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals

Trauma-Informed Leadership: Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-05-23
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Trauma-Informed Leadership: Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals
Unit 2Transcript: Trauma-Informed Leadership: Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals
Unit 3Workbook: Trauma-Informed Leadership: Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals
Unit 4Recording: Trauma-Informed Leadership: Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals

Trauma-informed leadership is crucial in organizations. Trauma-informed leaders create a supportive environment that prioritizes understanding, empathy, and healing, fostering better outcomes for both staff and the individuals they serve. This session examines how integrating trauma-informed approaches assists organizations to promote resilience within the staff and foster a compassionate criminal justice system.

Leading the discussion is Katharine Manning, the President of Blackbird LLC, which provides training and consultations on issues of trauma and victimization. She served as a senior attorney adviser at the Executive Office for US Attorneys with the US Department of Justice. She also worked as a counselor, and advocate for Battered Women at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Specifics of her webinar explore:

  • How recent societal challenges such as COVID, use of force incidents, and economic uncertainty have contributed to increased levels of stress and trauma for criminal justice professionals.
  • How trauma has always been significantly higher in the justice profession compared to other industries, and how this impacts job performance, relationships, and mental/physical health.
  • Defining trauma based on how it impacts individuals and impacts their performance, and what it means to be a trauma-informed organization.
  • The concept of institutional betrayal that prevents organizations from being trauma-informed.
    • What it is, the two conditions that create it, and examples of how it may take place.
    • How institutions where there is a high level of allegiance as law enforcement and military are more likely to commit institutional betrayal.
  • How psychological safety allows organizations to be trauma-informed.
    • What psychological safety looks like, and how its presence in organizations results in improvement in different measures and aspects for the individual and organization.
    • How providing support to people during hard times can quickly establish psychological safety.
  • Creating trauma-informed organizations through…
    • Acknowledgment: Where individuals feel heard and valued beyond their productivity by…
      • Utilizing the LASER technique to acknowledge and provide support.
      • Conducting quick check-ins to convey that you care about how they’re doing.
      • Communicating that it’s okay to be not okay and having difficult conversations when needed.
    • Support: Where individuals are provided with access to help and resources when necessary by…
      • Developing supportive policies and resources and ensuring to talk about these widely and frequently to ensure they are able to access and utilize these.
      • Providing a rundown of critical resources.
      • Practicing noisy self-care where one’s efforts at self-care are shared with others to de-stigmatize the concept of seeking help.
    • Trust: Where individuals are ensured that the organization is fair and trustworthy by…
      • Building trust through practicing clarity, consistency, and flexibility.
      • Observing cultural humility where there’s a recognition of diverse cultural experiences and are willing to learn, ask, and seek information to better understand differences and how to provide support to others given the differences.
      • Living in congruence with organizational and personal values and calling out behaviors that aren’t in alignment with these.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Getting leadership on board with the concept of trauma-informed organizations and leadership,
  • Managing individuals that don’t understand or refuse efforts to help them.
  • Dealing with leaders with narcissistic qualities.


Other Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Leadership webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “I loved the idea of asking staff before any meeting on a scale from 1-10 how are you feeling? Basically, do a BodyScan before a meeting.” — Misty
  • “This webinar provided me with some valuable tools to share with one of my staff who is now responsible to supervise front-line staff. The idea of Trauma Informed Leadership is something that will help their transition into the leadership role. It also reminded me to check in with my own staff, especially the ones who seem to not display that they need it. They just might need it, but may not trust that we care.” — Mona
  • “I like the idea of the quick check-in using a calendar, and list. While I try to be all-inclusive, you tend to gravitate to those like you. Also when my folks get great feedback from others I save the email for later when I write their performance appraisals. It is a small way of appreciating their work thorough out the year.” — Stevie
  • “I have 6 pages of notes! I loved everything she said. I am so glad I made the time to listen to this today.” — Mary Jo
  • “I really enjoyed the LASAR subject and checking in with staff and seeing where they truly are. This was great I wanted more!! Thank you.” — Katrina
  • “Holy cow — it’s like it was just for *me*! Fantastic tips for so many people who are invested in their organization when sometimes it feels like that is not reciprocated. And some great resources for next steps. Thank you.” — Heather
  • “I felt like the presenter offered realistic ways to implement this kind of support in an office setting. I liked the walk-through of the LASER technique. I also like the advice given in the Q&A about how even if you are not in management, these are things you can do right now in any position you are in within your office.” — Ashley
  • “Kate’s tone was excellent and the help she provided was actionable, understandable, and timely!” — Kai


Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) is an organization of individuals working together to foster awareness of the value that women bring to law enforcement. WIFLE’s goals include recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in federal law enforcement occupations, and the continued development of an information sharing and support network. WIFLE promotes collaborative leadership styles and the development of programs and policies that balance community service with enforcement of the laws. WIFLE also serves as an information and resource network for women in federal law enforcement, domestically and internationally. WIFLE is a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion in the federal law enforcement profession, a cornerstone to effectively serving communities across the country.



Additional Resources
1 year ago
Thoughts about Trauma in the 2020s from Katherine Manning
During her webinar Katherine Manning shared a number of great insights during the webinar, Trauma In […]
1 year ago
Thoughts about Trauma from Katherine Manning
During her webinar Katherine Manning shared a number of great insights during the webinar, Trauma In […]
1 year ago
Thoughts about Fair and Equal Treatment from Katherine Manning
During her webinar Katherine Manning shared a number of great insights during the webinar, Trauma In […]
1 year ago
After the Webinar: Trauma Informed Leadership. Q&A with Katharine Manning
Webinar presenter Katharine Manning answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Trauma In […]
1 year ago
Online Course: Trauma in the Workplace – A Better Response
The way we support our employees, co-workers, clients, and the communities we serve during times of […]
2 years ago
Video Interview: Trauma in the Workplace (part 2) with Katharine Manning
This is part 2 of a three-part interview with author, webinar presenter, and online course creator K […]
2 years ago
Trauma Mitigation for Police and the Policed
Numerous studies have corroborated the fact that those working in the criminal justice system, publi […]
3 years ago
The Empathetic Workplace: 5 Steps to a Compassionate, Calm, and Confident Response to Trauma on the Job
There are a lot of people who are suffering from stress and trauma that are not getting the help the […]
3 years ago
Victim Rights: What Law Enforcement Officers Need to Know
Victims often feel violated or scared after an incident, so ensuring that there are rights that prot […]