Trauma and violence informed checklist

Becoming trauma and violence informed requires attention and action

If you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and burnt out – shifting your care in these directions can save you. Aligning your care with your values can save your career and make it really joyful.


Dr. Collen Varcoe, Professor in UBC’s School of Nursing

Providing TVIC requires professionals to examine their own experiences, power, privilege and assumptions. The test can help child protection workers reflect on attitudes that shape their individual practice with respect to working with traumatized youth. Each statement is intended prompt reflection on trauma and violence principles and practices. The goal is to stimulate self-awareness and dialogue, not to criticize. Becoming trauma and violence informed is a learning process for everyone.

Check your agency for TVIC: For an organization to be trauma and violence informed, attention has to be paid to policies and practices that may re-traumatize or alienate clients with an emphasis on making people feel welcome and included in the processes. The questions below are designed to start group discussions, perhaps at team meetings or in training sessions to reflect on organizational readiness.

Check yourself: 

TVI statement: Any person I encounter likely has a history of trauma, and/or is experiencing it now

How does the statement impact my practice? (how many apply for you?)

  • I have never thought about how a history of trauma might impact people I work with 
  • I am more able to approach the person without assumptions
  • I am more likely to be less judgemental about behaviour

TVI statement: I can be caring without knowing the details of a young person’s life

How does the statement impact my practice?

  • I feel that I need the details to provide targeted care
  • Not having details allows me to treat everyone with the same care
  • It allows me to see the person first rather than the problem or diagnosis
  • It encourages me to ask questions on a ‘need to know’ only basis

TVI statement:  I believe trust is needed for anyone to feel safe enough to tell you what happened – I understand it takes time to build trust and I take that time

How does the statement impact my practice?

  • It reminds me of the importance of the quality of the relationship
  • It reminds me to balance the pressures of the job with the real needs of people
  • It supports me in advocating within my organization for taking the time with young people

TVI Statement: When young people ‘act out’ – they are communicating that something has happened to cause the behaviour.

  • How does the statement impact my practice?
  • I remind myself of this even when I find the behaviour disturbing.
  • It slows me down to consider what is really going on
  • It helps me stay out of judgement 
  • It reminds me that it is my responsibility to listen carefully and to look beyond the behaviour

TVI Statement: There is lots of stigma about sexual violence and with being labelled a victim. Young people will expect and fear my judgement.

How does the statement impact my practice?

  • It reminds me to check my biases
  • It helps me orient myself if someone starts to disclose
  • It reminds me not to probe and to be sensitive with my questions

TVI Statement: I have a tendency to under-estimate rather than over-estimate danger.

How does the statement impact my practice?

  • I listen carefully and don’t minimize what a young person tells me It reminds of the importance of believing what I am being told and how hard it is to talk about sexual violence
  • It reminds me to listen carefully and ask respectful questions
  • It reminds me not to jump to conclusions but to take what I am hearing seriously

TVI Statement: I don’t have to be specialist in sexual or domestic violence to practice good care and be a support in a young person’s life

How does the statement impact my practice?

  • It reminds me to focus on the person and what the person is experiencing as my guide on what to do next
  • It reminds me that everyone needs support and that support is based on the relationship not subject matter expertise

TVI Statement: When working with youth and families, I am aware of the power and privilege I have as a worker.

How does this statement impact my practice?

  • I remember that child protection gives me power to make decisions that can have a huge impact on families
  • I work hard to stay out of judgement or jumping to conclusions
  • I appreciate the complexity of relationships
  • I use a gender and intersectional lens in assessing situations