In collaboration with the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association (GLEPHA) and the University of Tasmania, the University of Deakin's School of Psychology recently spearheaded the inaugural Trauma-Informed Policing and Law Enforcement Conference. This landmark event convened professionals from diverse spheres including law enforcement, corrections, academia, community services, and legal professions. The conference aimed to start a conversation about the intricate dynamics of trauma’s impact on policing, communities, and individuals, and to forge pathways for research and practice development.

Speakers from Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US discussed the importance of trauma- informed and shame-competent practices within law enforcement. The conference aimed to initiate dialogue on how trauma informed practices have the potential to inform policing strategies and support the well-being of law enforcement personnel.

Central to the discourse was the dual emphasis on firstly leveraging trauma-informed approaches to inform policing practices, and secondly bolstering support systems for law enforcement personnel themselves. Through real-world examples and personal narratives, speakers elucidated transformative initiatives and organisational shifts aimed at nurturing safety, well-being, and crime reduction.

Superintendent Justin Srivastava shared England's pioneering journey in embracing a public health approach to trauma-informed policing, spotlighting initiatives like Trauma Informed Lancashire. Meanwhile, Tasmania Police Commissioner Donna Adams offered insights into fostering organisational change through trauma-informed training of recruits. Scotland’s Kirsty Giles took conference attendees through an inspirational and ground up journey of how Scotland embedded a trauma-informed justice system.

Notably, lived experiences were woven into the fabric of discussions, with former Federal Police Commander Grant Edwards underscoring the imperative of acknowledging and addressing trauma within police ranks to fortify both officer wellness and community safety. Tim Peck and Renata Fliegner from the Phoenix Foundation echoed this imperative in outlining initiatives to better support emergency service workers experiencing mental health injury.

Further enriching the dialogue were contributions from the Northern Territory Police, Tasmania Police, Victoria Police, and Peel Regional Police, showcasing a mosaic of trauma- informed innovations. These examples ranged from working with vulnerable people, trauma- informed training for specialised units, understanding survivor perspectives, establishing multidisciplinary responses, reviewing mental health models and services for officers, community-based policing, trauma-informed training for recruits and suspect welfare management. The diversity and depth of the work presented demonstrated the many possible avenues for practice and systemic improvements, as well as the need for more evaluation and research in the area.

Beyond conventional paradigms, presentations explored intersections with neurodiversity, restorative justice, shame-competent policing and cultural responsiveness, underscoring the multifaceted nature of trauma-informed policing. Speakers Carmen Cubillo, Dr. Lois Peeler, and Dr. Tebeje Molla provided invaluable cultural insights, advocating for more inclusive and culturally sensitive approaches in law enforcement interactions with First Nations Peoples and refugee populations.

As the conference drew to a close, it left a resounding call to action—to continue nurturing these conversations, to refine implementation frameworks, and to ensure that law enforcement practitioners worldwide receive the support they need to navigate the complexities of trauma-informed policing effectively.