Secondary traumatic stress: prevalence and symptomology amongst detective officers investigating child protection cases

Alison D. MacEachern, Ashley A. Dennis, Sharon Jackson, Divya Jindal-Snape*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

It has been increasingly recognised that individuals exposed to the trauma of others within their professional roles can be affected by secondary traumatic stress (STS). Despite this recognition, there is a dearth of literature examining the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress amongst police officers in the UK. This study aims to meet this gap. Sixty-three Detective Officers from Family Protection Units (FPU(s)), primarily engaged in child protection/abuse investigations, self-reported their experiences and symptoms associated with STS through a questionnaire. Findings indicate that over half of the respondents experienced STS symptoms with 11% reporting levels of symptoms that were in the high or severe range. This study is significant in that it provides empirical evidence of issues that have so far been little documented in the UK and considers the implications for policing policy and practice in terms of the health and well-being of serving police officers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume34
Early online date3 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • child protection
  • secondary traumatic stress
  • police
  • well-being

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