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Vicarious Traumatisation: Risks and resilience amongst crisis support volunteers in a community organisation.

journal contribution
posted on 2021-03-22, 02:58 authored by S Howlett, Anthony CollinsAnthony Collins
This study aims to understand the risks of vicarious trauma and possibilities of resilience among volunteers at an organisation that supports survivors of intimate-partner violence. The analysis identifies the dynamics of the organisation and the risk of vicarious traumatisation that the volunteers faced. The participants explored the personal self-care techniques they found effective and the organisational support available. The findings indicate that there was some degree of recognition of the risk by individual support workers, and also some attempts by the organisation to offer support, but these were undermined by a prevailing stigma among volunteers associated with admitting and showing vulnerability and inadequacy. Such denialism has a negative impact on both volunteers and organisational support structures, and also indirectly affects the clients seeking support. This analysis supports the importance of dealing with vicarious traumatisation in the training of volunteers and makes recommendations for the ongoing functioning of organisations, in order to facilitate effective recognition, non-stigmatised acceptance, and management of vicarious traumatisation among crisis support workers. © The Author(s) 2014.


Publication Date



South African Journal of Psychology






11p. (p. 180-190)





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