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.
- child protection
- secondary traumatic stress