Pathways Toward Collective Healing

Pathways Toward Collective Healing

Pathways Document


The IACP’s Pathways Toward Collective Healing publication highlights the IACP’s Law Enforcement and the Communities they Serve: Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm efforts between 2016-2020 in five communities across the United States. This 2021 resource outlines the initiative’s purpose and objectives, implementation practices, site profiles, overarching themes, and provides examples of the tools developed and implemented across the sites. 

The intensive work of the Collective Healing initiative over four years focused on creating a victim-centered, trauma-informed, collaborative response that meets the needs of those most vulnerable amid violence and traumatic events. In the wake of calls to reevaluate public safety, all acknowledge that working toward collective healing is difficult, complex, and long term work. Future work to address these goals should build on lessons learned from the Collective Healing initiative, and focus on the following interconnected areas often dependent on one another for success:

Leadership, Culture, and Operational Capacity-Building 

A key takeaway from the Collective Healing initiative is the critical importance of leaders and their role in prioritizing the work of collective healing, addressing trauma, and providing victim-centered responses. The greatest successes emerge when agency leaders are fully engaged in and committed to the work of listening, healing, and communicating their support both internally and externally.

Community-Police Relations and Community Wellness

Building and maintaining trust and legitimacy with the community is paramount for police agencies. To enhance community-police relations and community wellness, Collective Healing sites involved community members and community-based organizations to develop solutions, strengthen services, and build collaborative relationships and communicate these efforts. 

Trauma-informed Policing

Collective Healing sites include acknowledging historical and generational trauma, and the understanding of, and training on, the following topics: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs); Impact of trauma on human development and behavior; Trauma-informed policing including interviewing and investigation skills and community interaction; and Procedural justice.

Availability and Quality of Victim Services 

Enhancing the access to and quality of victim services is key to collective healing. Meaningful responses and supports, especially for communities that do not typically seek or receive services, can lead to healing for victims, broader community-wide trust and confidence in the police.

Officer and Agency Wellness and Resilience 

Addressing the impact on officers and agency staff of the exposure to the traumatic experiences of others and the effect this has on the quality of response to victims and the communities they serve is critical to the work of collective healing.


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This document was produced under Cooperative Agreement No. 2016-MU-GX-K026 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues. 



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