Staff experiences of working in a sexual assault referral centre: the impacts and emotional tolls of working with traumatised people

Journal article


Massey, K., Horvath, M., Essafi, S. and Majeed-Ariss, R. 2019. Staff experiences of working in a sexual assault referral centre: the impacts and emotional tolls of working with traumatised people. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/14789949.2019.1605615
AuthorsMassey, K., Horvath, M., Essafi, S. and Majeed-Ariss, R.
Abstract

This study considers the impacts on staff of supporting people who have reported sexual violence and attend a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

This paper focuses on the staff’s perspectives of the stresses and emotional tolls they experience including the coping mechanisms they utilise. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 staff and a focus group was held with a further four staff of a SARC. The data was examined using thematic analysis.

Findings indicated that staff experienced positive emotions connected to the meaningfulness of the work and team spirit as well as a range of unpleasant emotions. Staff also reported emotional numbing, in connection to the specificity, volume and sometimes unpredictable nature of the work. Coping mechanisms used by staff focused on the supportive connection to family, nature, and other team members; the value of clinical supervision; and the avoidance of topics related to work.

KeywordsVicarious trauma ; sexual assault ; coping mechanisms ; qualitative
Year2019
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1478-9949
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14789949.2019.1605615
Publication dates
Online22 Apr 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Apr 2019
Accepted25 Mar 2019
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/88z4y/staff-experiences-of-working-in-a-sexual-assault-referral-centre-the-impacts-and-emotional-tolls-of-working-with-traumatised-people

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