Journalists schooled on effective trauma reporting

Tema,– Scores of journalists have been trained on how to effectively report trauma, resulting from human trafficking as part of a fellowship programme by the International Justice Mission Ghana (IJM Ghana), a non-governmental organisation.

The training was done via zoom.

Participants were trained on trauma and its impact, signs and symptoms on a victim as well as the best practices for working with survivors of human trafficking.

They were also trained on how to build relationships with victims, effective communication, vicarious trauma and self-care, among others.

Mr Gabriel Acolatsey, an IJM Ghana Social Work Expert, who was a facilitator, said being trauma-informed would help to engage with survivors sensitively.

Mr Acolatsey noted that understanding the effect of trauma and its impact on people made it easier for journalists to communicate with survivors and help them to improve their behaviour and attitudes.

He said trauma could be sexual abuse or rape, physical abuse, natural disaster, traumatic loss, serious accidents, violent crimes, witnessing violence, trafficking in person, poverty, neglect and medical procedures, among others.

Among factors that can impact trauma response are age and developmental stages, temperament, belief about the level of danger faced during the event, trauma history, problems after the traumatic event, cultural influences and availability of a good support system.

Trauma can be triggered by false alarm; when one hears, sees or feels something that reminds him or her of scary things that happened in the past.

Mr Acolatsey noted that trauma-informed communication was key towards victims of human trafficking, hence journalists in the quest of getting the victims to tell their stories, should be respectful to avoid further traumatising victims.

“Speak for the victims to understand, tell victims what to expect, use appropriate people, pay attention to non-verbal communication and avoid communication blockers,” he said.

Mrs Jacqui Oyimer, Senior Associate, Community Relations, Advocacy and Partnerships at IJM Ghana, charged journalists to be objective in the course of fighting for justice for the vulnerable.

She said the training session would equip participants with knowledge, skills and tools to practice Trauma-Informed Journalism.

“This training will be very helpful and useful in your work as you interview, write articles, publish and broadcast reports in your fight against human trafficking until all are free,” she added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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