Shame Competence for Police Training

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Training Overview

Within policing, as with other human services, understanding shame, its impacts and its effects has not been an explicit focus of training or practice. Professor Luna Dolezal worked in collaboration with the Devon & Cornwall Police to develop this innovative and evidence-based Shame Competence for Police training package. The aim of the Shame Competence for Police Training is to to create and systematise nuanced and collaborative understandings of how shame is produced and experienced as a result of particular interactions, experiences, policies and practice. This will enhance organizational and individual emotional intelligence and facilitate deeper understanding of the impacts and effects of shame within professional policing practice.

Length: 1 day
Delivery: in-person (remote option available)
Max participants: 30

Topics covered:

- Why Do We Need to Understand Shame ?
- What is Shame?
- Shame and Trauma
- Hidden Shame and the Shame Compass
- Responding to Shame
- Shame Cycles (Disengagement and Violence)
- Recognising Shaming
- Shame in Organisations

Background & Rationale

Shame is a strong driver of behaviour and decision-making and can have concrete effects in interpersonal relations, especially in policing and other criminal justice contexts. There exists evidence and research demonstrating links between shame and a number of policing-relevant issues and behaviours, such as: violence and violent crime, domestic abuse, sexual violence, exploitation, terrorism and radicalization, offender decision-making, mass shootings, anti-police attitudes, gang violence, honour killings, looting and spontaneous street violence, among others. In addition, shame and shaming are frequently used as formal and informal punishments in policing, and, on the other hand, police officers are frequently the recipients of shaming from politicians, the public and the media. As a result, police practitioners will benefit from a deeper awareness and understanding of shame, along with competence about how to recognize and manage shame dynamics in the critical work they do. 

Feedback from Participants:

Trusted by:

Luna worked with Haley Peckham (Facilitator and Training Developer), Meg-John Barker (Creative Consultant), Devon & Cornwall Police, the wider Police Feedback Network and the Trauma-Informed Plymouth Network to develop and pilot the training in 2022.

The development of the training is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Devon & Cornwall Police Serious Violence Prevention Programme, and the Open Innovation Platform Funding, University of Exeter (2022).