A qualitative exploration of researcher trauma and researchers' responses to investigating sexual violence

Violence Against Women. 2014 Jan;20(1):95-117. doi: 10.1177/1077801213520578.


Vicarious trauma can be a problem for those who work and research in areas where clients or participants are survivors of sexual violence. The aim of this study was to explore the trauma experiences of sexual violence researchers from different countries, identifying the issues that traumatized them and the protective strategies they found effective. This article reports on a moderated electronic discussion board run for 4 weeks from September to October 2009 and four purposeful interviews. A total of 15 researchers participated, 4 males and 11 females. Institutions and organizations researching in this area should consider researcher safety in project design.

Keywords: research; secondary traumatic stress; sexual violence; vicarious trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Personnel / psychology*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*