Missoula County Attorney’s Office honored for award-winning secondary trauma program
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst recently showcased her office’s award-winning program addressing secondary trauma for the National District Attorneys Association Board of Directions in Austin, Texas. The Women Prosecutors Section of the NDAA invited Pabst to present on the Secondary Trauma Group, a first-of-its-kind program designed to promote resilience and longevity for prosecutors and law enforcement who work directly with victims of violent crime.
“Addressing secondary trauma has been life-changing for our staff,” Pabst said. “It’s so encouraging to see other jurisdictions following our lead in this critical and evolving field and recognizing the importance of reducing turnover and making this profession sustainable.”
Secondary trauma is the cumulative effect of daily exposure to graphic material, children and adults in crisis, and human tragedies. For front-line workers, secondary trauma often results in shortened life expectancies, addiction, interpersonal conflict and turnover. The Secondary Trauma Group teaches prosecutors and staff data-proven ways to advocate for victims without compromising their own well-being.
The program also received a National Association of Counties Achievement Award and was named to NACo’s Top 100 Brilliant Ideas in Government list.
Pabst is a proponent of criminal justice reforms. She started Montana’s first formal criminal mediation program and will launch Calibrate, Montana’s first prosecution-led pretrial diversion program alter this year.
Pabst is serving her second term as Missoula County Attorney and, other than a short stint in private practice, has been working as a prosecutor since 1994.