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Evaluation of trauma informed training commissioned by Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Unit and its Trauma informed Approaches steering group

McCartan, Kieran; Pawson, chris; Eason, Anne; Curtis, Bethany

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Kieran McCartan
Professor in Sociology and Criminology

Chris Pawson
Associate Professor in Applied Psychology and Behavioural Science

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Anne Eason
Associate Director (Policing)

Bethany Curtis


Avon and Somerset OPCC & Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) Hub commissioned this evaluation research to understand the training delivered through 2022. Rockpool was commissioned to produce 4 training courses (Working with Trauma; Creating a Trauma Informed Workplace; Understanding Trauma: A Three Day Train the trainer, 9 day Trauma-informed informed Educator) to a multi-agency audience (i.e., Police, Health, Education, Local authority, voluntary sector) to develop a better shared understanding of trauma and trauma informed practice. The VRU Hub was funded by the Home Office to provide a tiered multi-agency offer of trauma informed training for professionals across Avon and Somerset involved in supporting young people at risk of involvement in serious violence.

The research took place online in the second half of 2022. The evaluation takes a mixed methods approach, using qualitative and quantitative data, as this allows us to triangulate the data better and to get a clearer understanding of the nuanced and complex understanding of trauma, as well as trauma-informed practice in Avon & Somerset. The research has two parts,

- A process evaluation, based on data supplied by Rockpool from their internal training evaluation. (n=554)

- An outcome evaluation based on interviews (written and oral) and focus groups with participants who had attended the training. (n=39)

It is important to note that Rockpool designed, collected, and collated the data for the process evaluation and the UWE research team analysed the data after Rockpool completed the training courses. UWE was not involved in the planning, design, or rollout of the process evaluation.

Based on the Rockpool data, the process evaluation indicated that participants thought the training was engaging, the trainers good and the content fit for purpose, resulting in significant effect sizes across most measures of pre and post courses attitudes and beliefs around trauma. The participants in the qualitative research, the impact evaluation, also felt positive about the delivery of the training courses, which also added nuance by showing the importance of understanding trauma and trauma informed practice in supporting staff and that all training should be multi-agency moving forward. The biggest criticism of the training was that it was online and that this triggered some participants, and they didn’t feel supported, that there was no follow up engagement post training to build on it. Which is significant not only in terms of the training delivered but also in respect to participants ability to do their daily work post training, for if they feel that they are now trauma aware but not supported in responding to the trauma (clients and their own) by their employer this could impact job satisfaction, health, and wellbeing. While some staffing groups (mainly police colleagues) did not always see the relevance of it in their day to day working the results highlighted that most participants felt that attending had tangible benefits to their working practices, improved their ability to do their role and, therefore, they would recommend the course to others.

Outcomes from the evaluation lead to recommendations linked to further development of trauma informed practice including, better partnership working, improved referral pathways for those impacted by trauma, the need for agencies to develop a trauma informed frame for their work, more bespoke, role specific, trauma informed training, better staff support in respect to working with trauma; and better follow-on multi-agency training/development.


McCartan, K., Pawson, C., Eason, A., & Curtis, B. Evaluation of trauma informed training commissioned by Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Unit and its Trauma informed Approaches steering group. Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Unit

Report Type Research Report
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 5, 2023
Public URL
Additional Information Please don't display report on uwe4 site


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