Domestic Abuse Support Workers are a key source of support for victim-survivors who experience abuse from an ex/partner, providing emotional support (involving listening to experiences and traumatic stories) and practical support (e.g. housing or legal support). But helping survivors can have negative effects on the Support Workers; specifically, they can develop Vicarious Trauma.
Vicarious Trauma is caused by transference of the trauma effects experienced by survivors to Support Workers after being accumulatively exposed to them while providing care. Support workers can find themselves experiencing symptoms which mimic PTSD, including hyperarousal (e.g. nightmares), changes in their worldview and difficulties with relationships.
My research aims to qualitatively explore experiences of vicarious trauma in Domestic Abuse Support Workers, and how they manage trauma levels to ensure they can continue to provide support to others. It will also examine the interplay of being both survivor and professional on vicarious trauma, and how survivor-professionals manage vicarious trauma alongside their own trauma.
Proposed methods will be qualitative in nature to gain rich information about experiences, using visual methods alongside interviews.
My other research interests include Violence Against Women, Interpersonal Violence, Substance Misuse, Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation.