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There is growing recognition of how traumatic experiences can impact on an individual’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. While not everyone who is exposed to trauma will go to on to experience negative effects, a higher frequency of Adverse Childhood Experiences (‘ACEs’) are correlated with a range of negative outcomes, including physical health issues such as ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease, (Felitti et al 1998, reprinted 2019) and ‘health harming behaviours’ across the life course (Bellis 2014). 
These findings suggest many users of human services are likely to have experienced trauma, and there is increasing interest in Trauma-Informed Practice / Care. However, many commentators, including those with lived experience of trauma, have highlighted concerns about the potentially re-traumatising effects of some services. 
This study will evaluate a programme of Trauma-Informed workshops devised and delivered by an independent organisation, the Zebra Collective. The programme involves a series of 8 half-day workshops, delivered over 9 months, to mixed cohorts of staff and volunteers from teams and organisations across Torbay.   The evaluation of this programme will consider the impact of the workshops on the skills, knowledge and practice of participants who attend the sessions in relation to trauma-informed practice, along with participants’ views of any wider organisational facilitators and barriers they may have experienced, alongside the views of those commissioning this workshop programme. 

Research questions/aims/objectives 

We aim to understand the perceptions of workshop participants, managers, commissioners and the programme delivery team as to their experience of the Trauma Informed change programme, any organisational changes as a result of the programme and potential impact.

Specifically, we aim to meet the following objectives, to understand:

Programme delivery:

  • how the programme is being delivered;
  • the extent to which the programme meets the needs of organisations and staff;
  • workshop participants’ perceptions of the programme;
  • impact on participant understanding of trauma informed practice/care
  • how the programme can be improved.

Programme impact:

  • the extent to which workshop participants have been able to apply their learning to practice;
  • the facilitators and barriers to application of learning to practice by workshop participants;
  • the extent to which the programme supports a move toward a trauma informed culture in Torbay services;
  • the organisational and community barriers and facilitators to supporting cultural change.  


Study design and methods 

Mixed methods will be used to answer the above aims and objectives. A survey will be administered to all trauma informed programme participants at two time points: (i) prior to commencing the programme and (ii) immediately prior to the final workshop. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with workshop participants, organisation managers, service commissioners and workshop facilitators. Focus groups will be conducted in a world café event with workshop participants in the final workshop session.  

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All participants from the range of organisations involved in the Trauma-Informed Change Programme, will be invited to take part in a web-based survey (prior to the first workshop session and following the final workshop session) and interviews to gather more in-depth views. We aim to interview up to 20 workshop participants as close to the first workshop session as possible and aim to follow up the same participants with a further semi-structured interview following the final workshop session. We will also be looking to gather the views of managers and commissioners, and programme facilitators. 


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