A Holistic Approach for Identifying Unique Organisational Stressors in Digital Forensics

An Evidence Based Review and Future Research Directions

Sally Kelty, Carly Pymont, Emma J. McQueen, Nathan Green, Ben Lamont, Iain Walker

Research output: Book/ReportReports


It is estimated that one-fifth of emergency management personnel will, or are, at high risk of developing occupational stress. Some of these personnel will go on to experience severe psychological injury and/or post/secondary-traumatic stress resulting from their occupation. Some will take their own lives due to their exposure to distressing events/materials.
In the last ten years research findings primarily from Australia, the US and Europe have shown that practitioners working in the digital forensic field are at high-risk of job strain, burnout or secondary traumatic stress resulting from their occupation (refer Wößner et al, 2016; Powell et al, 2014; Perez, 2010; Murphy,2016; Holt et al, 2012; Franqueira et al, 2018; Brady, 2017; Bourke et al, 2014; Wortley et al, 2014). The risk of occupational stress for digital forensics personnel aligns with the changing nature of policing with the rates of serious crime, especially assault, robbery and homicide decreasing while digital crime has increased. The increase in digital crime changes workload demands, requires a different skill set to traditional investigation techniques, as well as increases secondary exposure to distressing materials.
CI Kelty was asked to develop a project to identify organisational stressors unique to digital forensics teams working in the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and to develop a range of “fit for purpose” strategies that the AFP can trial to manage risk of stress, psychological injury and turnover.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherUniversity of Canberra
Commissioning bodyAustralian Federal Police
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2019


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