University Of Tasmania
140936 - vicarious trauma and emotional.pdf (123.49 kB)

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

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 17:51 authored by Michael Andre GuerzoniMichael Andre Guerzoni
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.


Publication title

Methodological Innovations






Aboriginal Leadership


Sage Publications Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

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

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Criminal justice

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    University Of Tasmania