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Vicarious trauma and emotional labour in researching child sexual abuse and child protection: a postdoctoral reflection


Guerzoni, MA, Vicarious trauma and emotional labour in researching child sexual abuse and child protection: a postdoctoral reflection, Methodological Innovations pp. 1-8. ISSN 2059-7991 (2020) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2020 The Author. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1177/2059799120926342


Criminology almost inevitably involves the study of sensitive and sorrowful research topics. Consequently, criminologists fall victim to the inherent risks of exposure to vicarious trauma, requiring many to practice emotional labour in the field, in the lecture hall, and perhaps, even along the corridors of the university campus itself. This article offers a reflective account of the experiences of vicarious trauma and the self-imposed, protective practice of emotional labour within doctoral research on child protection initiatives within a religious institution. It explores my experience of self-regulating my emotions in response to the reading of disturbing content, and of the active filtering of points of conversation when asked about my research within professional, familial and social settings, to prevent disturbing the emotions of others. The article encourages potential doctoral students to consider how they might prepare for themselves emotionally, socially and physically, for their inevitable encounter with difficult content, prior to the commencement of candidature, thereby increasing their resilience in facing the difficult components of a doctoral degree tasked with exploring content of a bleak and emotionally unnerving nature.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:emotional labour, criminology, child sexual abuse, vicarious trauma, sensitive research
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Criminology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Guerzoni, MA (Dr Michael Guerzoni)
ID Code:140936
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-09-15
Last Modified:2021-04-26
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

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