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Launch of new research on implementation of trauma-informed approaches in Northern Ireland

group of people standing

The report of new research by Centre for Child, Youth and Family Welfare members was launched on 22nd February and examines how trauma informed approaches are being implemented across organisations and services in Northern Ireland.

The research was commissioned by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) with funding from the cross-Executive Programme on Paramilitarism and Organised Crime (EPPOC). Dr Suzanne Mooney, member of the Centre for Child, Youth and Family Welfare, led the research with a team including CCYFW members Mandi MacDonald, David Hayes and Lisa Bunting, along with Montse Fargas-Malet, Colm Walsh and Lorna Montgomery from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, and Deirdre O’Neill from the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The Executive Summary report 'We are on a Journey: Implementing Trauma Informed Approaches in Northern Ireland'. was launched to a packed Canada Room, with another 230 people attending online, and was welcomed by a joint statement from the all-party EPPOC Political Advisory Group.

Suzanne presented the findings and there were contributions from Professor Daniel Muijs, Head of School, SSESW, Ms Bernie McNally, Independent Chair of the SBNI, Dr Julie Harrison, Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office, as well as case study presentations from Hilary Cunningham, Fane St Primary School, Dawn Richardson, Thorndale Parenting Service/ Salvation Army, Susan Semple, BHSCT Belfast Inclusion Project, and Colleen Heaney, Youth Justice Agency. The event was chaired by Mandi MacDonald and Montse Fargas-Malet.

The research found that trauma informed approaches have the potential to improve outcomes for service users and their families, including better relationships with providers and access to the right support at the right time. There were also perceived benefits for staff and organisations, including increased job satisfaction and support, reduced staff sickness and turnover, leading to potential cost savings in the longer-term. 

Based on the findings, the report recommends governmental commitment through a trauma informed strategy for Northern Ireland. The authors recommend establishing a regional Trauma Informed resource centre or hub and a trauma-related training framework promoting learning and best practice consistency across services and settings. 

For more information on the report, please visit the Safeguarding Board for NI website: