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Title: Empathy and compassion fatigue in specialist police officers working with victims of rape and sexual assault : assessment and brief training intervention
Author: Turgoose, D. P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 7471
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Aims: This study examined whether compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and burnout in police officers who interview rape victims were associated with empathy and years of service. It also evaluated a brief training intervention which aimed to teach officers about these concepts and impart self-help strategies for managing stress. Method: 142 specialist police officers attended the training intervention and completed measures of compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, burnout, dispositional and situational empathy, and knowledge. Measures were completed immediately before the training and at 8-10 week follow-up. Results: There were no associations between empathy and compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress. High dispositional empathy was associated with low burnout. Compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and burnout increased the longer participants had been in their occupational role. Participants' knowledge and awareness of these concepts increased following the training. Conclusions: The findings do not support the hypothesised association between empathy and compassion fatigue, within a police population. They do suggest a higher risk of compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and burnout after more years in trauma-related job roles. Longitudinal research is required to further explore these relationships. Training interventions and more organisational support may be useful for helping police officers who work with sexual assault victims. Further research should test the effectiveness of such interventions and self-help strategies and how they might best be embedded within the systemic context.
Supervisor: Barker, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available