Instilling Shame Competence within Policing

Shame Competence Training (2022-2024, funded by Exeter OIP Collaboration Funding, D&C Police and OPCC).

Luna Dolezal has been collaborating with the Devon and Cornwall Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner since May 2021 regarding the possibility of incorporating shame-sensitive practice into their vulnerability strategy, especially around trauma-informed approaches within policing and public health approaches to policing. Working with the Programme Director for Serious Violence Prevention and the Strategic Safeguarding Improvement Hub Lead, in order to discuss the relevance of shame and shame competence for serious violence prevention, in particular with respect to preventative approach to “break the cycle of violence” that integrates a trauma-informed approach.

Linking to the work of the Serious Violence Programme, an evidence-based information package was developed by Dolezal: “Shame and Violence: Considerig Shame and Shame-Sensitive Practice in Policing” (download here: This has been disseminated through the Police Knowledge Hub (which reaches 43 forces) and has received enthusiastic positive feedback from individuals in several areas of policing.

The aims of the “Shame Competence Training” project:

  1. To produce and pilot an innovative and evidence-based ‘shame competence’ training package that will be used to develop individual and organisational shame competence in the Devon and Cornwall Police, along with other agencies and organisations, including practitioners in the Serious Violence Prevention Programme.
  2. To empirically test the effectiveness of teaching ‘shame competence’ through piloting and evaluating the training package with the Devon & Cornwall Police and the Trauma Informed Plymouth Network (TIPN).
  3. To advance knowledge and improve practice in human and health services with respect to the understanding of shame and its impacts and effects.

Two training packages were developed in 2022 – “Shame Competence for Police” and “Shame Competence for Trauma-Informed Practitioners” – and piloted with the Devon & Cornwall Police an TIPN in November 2022. The pilot trainings were evaluated by Sian Moody from Impact Matters. Evaluation data was used to guide the revisions of the training packages. From March 2023, the trainings were delivered by Luna Dolezal and Haley Peckham to Devon & Cornwall Police and their partners.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, contact the project PI Luna Dolezal (

Funded by Devon & Cornwall Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (2022-2024) and the University of Exeter Open Innovation Platform Collaboration Funding (2022).

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