Foundation, reminding you that a fully-integrated approach for assisting surivivors of
traumatic loss involves a balance of head and heart.
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
James Joyce, Novelist and Poet
The term second assault is an important concept in Human Services Response™
training. Second assaults are mistakes made after a traumatic event has occurred
that cause additional hurt and stress to those involved. Survivors regard these
errors as avoidable had the company involved planned and trained properly
before the crisis.
Interviews with survivors show that most people understand that mistakes
occur – even something as terrible as an accident or disaster. What is not
expected is that a company has not foreseen the possibility and planned
accordingly for when things go wrong. Some typical second assaults include
having insufficient phone lines and/or people answer the public’s calls
during a crisis response, expecting employees to adequately assist the people
involved or interact with the public without proper training, and treating those
not physically injured as is nothing traumatic has happened. In cases with
“walking wounded,” some have reported that their treatment in the aftermath
was worse than the initial trauma.
“The purpose of Human Services Response ™ is to provide an environment
where survivors have the best opportunity to begin the healing process.”
Companies have a responsibility to their public and employees. Those that take
this commitment seriously understand that while mistakes are forgivable, it much
easier to forgive once a survivor feels safe, is out of harm’s way, can feel that the
traumatic event has ended, and sees that the company had prepared for
such a crisis.
Most experienced emergency planners know that it is never a question of if
another tragedy will occur, but rather when, and while no one is ever ready for
a crisis, a company can and should be prepared. Learning from mistakes
made by our own and other companies is an effective way of preventing
second assaults and being as prepared as possible for the next tragedy.
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Aviem & Family Assistance Foundation
555 North Pont Center East, Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30022
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