Second Victims: Caring for our own, better

Dr Clare Dallat1,3, Ms Deb Ajango2
1Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems The University of The Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia; 2SafetyEd, Eagle River, USA; 3The Outdoor Education Group, Melbourne, Australia


Most outdoor education practitioners (instructors, lecturers, managers, directors) adjust very well to the multitude of demands encountered during an unexpected or traumatic event on our programs. However, sometimes the stress reaction from these events can be extremely difficult, confronting and can lead to highly capable and caring professionals leaving our field. It simply becomes too much. This workshop will introduce the term and concept of ‘Second Victims’ (Wu, 2000). In outdoor education, the patient and the family are the first victim(s) after an event, and the ‘second-victims’ are those who were involved, directly or indirectly through their work/ volunteering responsibilities. Frequently, these individuals may feel personally responsible for the outcome and consider that they have failed their participants, going on to second-guess their leadership skills and entire knowledge base. This workshop will consider what we as individuals, organisations, and the Australian outdoor education profession can do to better support our own when serious incidents occur, all through the lens of compassion, empathy and learning.

Dr Clare Dallat is the Executive Director of Research and The Outdoor Education Foundation at The Outdoor Education Group. She also directs Risk Resolve and is an adjunct fellow with the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at The University of The Sunshine Coast. Clare believes that humans grow by interacting with risk in environments that include real hazards. She works with organisations across the globe helping them to construct knowledge and confidence to proactively and reactively manage risks to their participants and staff. Clare holds a PhD in Human Factors and an MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management. In 2018, she won the prestigious Reb Gregg Award for exceptional leadership, innovation and contribution to international wilderness risk management.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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