Majority of DPP legal staff ‘suffering from trauma’

Majority of DPP legal staff 'suffering from trauma'

A majority of legal staff at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are suffering from trauma as a result of their work, according to an internal report.

The report, authored by barrister and trauma expert Jennifer Bulbilia and seen by The Irish Times, was commissioned by the DPP and its findings were presented to senior officials in May 2018.

By one measure, Ms Bulbilia found that 54.4 per cent of legal staff surveyed were suffering from moderate trauma, with another 1.5 per cent suffering from severe trauma.

Under another system of measurement, 18 per cent of staff were deemed as suffering moderate secondary trauma, and another 18 per cent suffering severe secondary trauma.

Nearly a fifth of the 106 respondents – representing nearly half of the 200 legal staff at the DPP – reported that they “frequently or very often” use drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress of their jobs.

Staff dealing with child sex abuse cases have reported being over-vigilant with their own children, as well as experiencing “flashbacks or intrusive thoughts”.

Less than five per cent of respondents to the survey sought professional assistance in relation to their trauma, and less than four per cent sought support from management.

Ms Bulbilia’s report made a series of recommendations around psychological support for staff, but the DPP has not said whether they have been implemented.

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