Kathleen has been dedicated to helping victims of Violent Death Trauma and the organizations that serve them since 2001.
After the murder of her son Aaron in 1999, she wanted to help others who had been forced into a world that no one ever imagines will happen to them. After several years of dealing with her own grief, she began to see where her experience could help others. Already a psychotherapist, she began to work with families and individuals deal with and overcome the terrible ordeal of Violent Death Trauma, loss caused by Homicide, suicide, drugs-overdose, war, terrorism, natural disaster or any sudden event.
Her philosophy has been that while we will suffer from these events, we cannot allow them to destroy us, but instead allow ourselves to be transformed by them and help others make their journey. Alone we perish, together, we are strong in the broken places of our lives.
Through the years, she has helped people navigate the treacherous waters of grief. She has worked with service organizations all over the world to develop, policy, program and direct services to those affects by violent death.
In 2006, she wrote A Grief Like No Other, surviving the violent death of someone you love (Perseus), a classic resource on traumatic grief and now translated into Korean. In 2007 became a consultant for the Federal Office for Victims of Crime in the US Department of Justice.
Today, she continues her work globally, and most recently created a program of training to address Violence Against Women in Turkey as well as advising on support to the victims of the Grenfell Fire in London.
She has spoken at the United Nations in New York, in Feb 2016 on Global Mental Health Issues of Women and Girls for the first international day for Women and Girls in Science, sponsored by RASIT, the Royal Academy of Science International Trust and was invited back to speak at the United Nations in Feb 2017 for the second International Day of Women and Girls in Science, this time her topic was The Psychological Impact of Media Stereotypes on Women and Girls in Science.
For a complete list of her work, please see below:
Keynotes, Workshops and Trainings: An accomplished and dynamic speaker, Kathleen O’Hara has been a guest on international Radio and television and has been interviewed for documentaries on victims of crime.
She has been a contributing writer on victims’ rights and traumatic grief recovery for newspapers and magazines across the USA, and her keynote speaking schedule has taken her across the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and the UK
She is a well-respected Keynote Speaker, workshop provider, trainer and retreat leader. She receives consistently high marks on evaluations of her work and keeps audiences and participants engaged, interested, inspired with a lively sense of humor, and her ability to connect with people from many different nationalities and backgrounds.
She is a consultant for the Federal Office for Victims of Crime, in the US Department of Justice. She is on the advisory board of Supporting Justice, UK and a member of Victim Support Europe and Victims of Crime International.
She is committed to raising the standard of care provided to Violent Death Trauma survivors. Kathleen facilitates workshops, retreats, and seminars helping organizations and victim’s service providers serve victims with compassion and justice.
Her unique perspective as a survivor of a family homicide and a service provider gives her the necessary experience to understand the needs of the victim and how to help them. Her expertise helps victim service providers create policy, programs and trainings which will enhance their mission to serve victims in the most caring, compassionate and effective manner possible. She has provided training to therapists and members of the clergy.
COMPASSION FATIGUE TRAINNING:
Kathleen has developed a workshop and training model to address Compassion Fatigue which is a leading cause of burn-out and staff and volunteer turnover. Her model provides an assessment of CF symptoms, how to identify risk and provides solutions for self-care and CF management. She has recently developed a program for The Motor Neurone Disease Association of the UK.
Kathleen will consult with you and create trainings that will deal with the specific needs of your organization.
Her training programs are developed expressly for the needs of each level of victim service and cover—but are not limited to—the following topics:
- Understanding the victim’s experience.
- How to best serve victim’s needs.
- How to create positive interactions with victims & their families.
- How to handle the notification of death to the victim’s family.
- Developing skills such as empathetic listening & handling extreme emotions
- How to improve delivery of services.
- Pacing interactions with victims while understanding and handling your own feelings
- Understanding the victim’s journey through the criminal justice system.
- How to create healthy boundaries while providing services.
- How to deal with secondary trauma.
- How to avoid compassion fatigue.
Kathleen is available for Keynotes, workshops, retreats and seminars. There are many subjects she can speak on and will tailor her presentations to the needs of your group, organization or institution.
KEYNOTES, PRESENTATIONS, WORKSHOPS AND RETREATS:
2016 United Nations Speech, New York, The First International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Mental Health Issues of Women and Girls: We Carry the Future – February 11, 2016
2017 United Nations speech on the Psychological Impact of Media Stereotypes on Women and Girls in Science. Second International Day of Women and girls in Science, The Royal Academy of Science International Trust February 2017
Violence against Women project, training, policy and program development in Turkey December 2016 and March 2017
Visiting Professor Lecture IWHA Woman’s University, Law Department: Global Victims Rights, Seoul South Korea October 2015
Keynote to Victim Support and Criminal Justice Practitioners: A Grief Like No Other Seoul, October 2015
Lecture: Yulchon Attorneys at Law: The Victims Experience and Global Victims Rights, Seoul, South Korea 2015
The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime,
Ottawa, Canada, 2013. Moving the Conversation Forward Panel: International perspectives on mobilizing positive change for victims of crime.
Canadian National Crime Victims Rights Week Toronto, Canada, 2011. Presentation: A Grief Like No Other, the Seven Stages of Traumatic Grief.
Europe and UK
Victim Support Europe Conference Utrecht, The Netherlands, Understand the Victims Journey through the courts 2016
Supporting Justice Trainings on Serious Crime for UK Witness Service September and October 2015
Foyle’s Womens Aid, Domestic Violence Training: Derry, Ireland, September 2015
Keynote Speaker National Prayer Breakfast Royal Air Force Base, Croughton, UK February 2015
Cruse Bereavement Conference Coventry, UK July 2015 A Grief Like No Other Workshop on Traumatic Bereavement
Motor Neurone Disease Association: Compassion Fatigue Workshops for Staff and Volunteers throughout the UK 2015
Eurotas Transpersonal Conference Milan June 2015 workshop: A Transpersonal Approach to Traumatic Bereavement
Victim Support Europe Conference Lisbon May 2015 Restoring Victims to Their Rightful Place in Society
SAMM Abroad Conference Warwick University April 2015 A Grief Like No Other, how to cope with Violent Death Trauma
World Community of Christian Mediation Workshop March 21 London: Coping with the Violent Death of a Loved One
Visiting Professor Lecture, Teeside University: Victims Perspective on the EU Directive of Victims Rights January 2015
Als/MNDA Professional Forum, Brussels, December 2014
The Czech Republic, Prague June 2014, Two day training on the European Directive/Compassion Fatigue for Billy Kruh Bezpeci, Victim Service Organization
Victim Support Europe, Warsaw Poland May 2014: Providing The Best Services to Victims of Crime
Victim Support Europe, November 2013, Brussels: An Insight Into The Training Needs In The European Directive
Victim Support Europe Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 2013,
“Supporting Victims of Crime in Europe.” Presentation:
Compassion Fatigue Strategies for Victim Service Providers.
“The Right of Crime Victims to Information” Presentation: Complex Cases: Helping Victims with Complex or Unsolved Crimes, Lisbon, Portugal, 2013.
Victim Support Europe and the World Society of Victimology, The Hague, Holland, 2012. Presentation: Cultivating Resiliency after Trauma in Minority and Ethnic Populations.
Capacity Building for European Crime Victim Support, Lisbon, Portugal, 2012. Presentation: Methodology and Intervention for Assisting Friends and Families of Homicide Victims.
Mothers Against Manslaughter and Aggression, London, England, 2010. Presentation: Understanding and Helping Families of Homicide Victims.
Cruse Bereavement, Coventry, England Conference, July 2010. Presentation: Providing Support to Families Who Have Lost a Loved One to a Violent Death.
Victim Support Europe Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2010. Keynote Presentation: The Journey Through the Criminal Justice System: A Victim’s Perspective.
New Challenges in Europe Conference Victim Support Europe, Moscow, Russia, 2011. Presentation: Public Relations and Victims of Violence: How to use the Media to Raise Awareness of Victims Rights and Services.
Truck Safety Coalition Conference, Washington DC, 2013.
Mothers in Charge National Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 2013.
Crossing The Ocean of Grief Compassionate Friends, Philadelphia, PA 2013
Crossing The Ocean of Grief Retreat, Cape May, New Jersey June 2011
One Spirit Seminary, New York, New York 2011
Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Harrisburg, PA, 2011.
Mothers in Charge National Conference Philadelphia, PA, 2011.
National Organization of Victim Assistance, (NOVA) Philadelphia, PA, 2011.
Institute for Safe Families, Philadelphia, PA, 2010.
Crossing The Ocean of Grief Retreat, Cape May New Jersey, June 2010
Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery Memorial, Arlington, VA, 2009.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 2009.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Stuart , VA, 2008.
Truck Safety Coalition, Washington, DC, 2009.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Pennsylvania, 2008.
Texas Victims Services Association, Houston 2008
The Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Board, Harrisburg, PA, 2008.
Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Atlanta, GA, 2008.
Congressional Briefing on PTSD and the Military, Washington, DC, 2008.
National Victims Compensation Assistance Board, San Diego, CA, 2008.
NOVA Forum, Capitol Hill, Washington DC. April 2006
“We were very pleased to have Kathleen O’Hara come speak at our Sorrow to Strength Conference. Several of our members had read Kathleen’s book and had requested that she be invited. Kathleen brought new insights and helpful ideas in her approach to addressing grief. For our attendees, most all of whom had lost a loved one in a truck crash, her stories and advice made it the most useful talk we had. Given that grief is such a personal and difficult subject, Kathleen’s success at our conference resulted from her unique combination of professional knowledge with personal sensitivity to what people are facing with their tragic loss.”
John Lannen. Executive Director
Truck Safety Coalition