Avoiding Burnout at the Digital Forensics Coalface: Targeted strategies for forensic agencies in the management of job-related stress

Sally Kelty, Emma McQueen, Carly Pymont, Nathan Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Recent evidence shows digital forensics experts are at risk of burnout and job-related stress. This may be related to the increase in digital evidence and/or repetitive exposure to challenging material, either face to face or via digital imagery in real time or post-event. This exposure includes footage and/or sound recording of extreme violence, child exploitation, suicide, and death scenes. This increase in the risk of stress also aligns with the changing nature of policing with rates of serious crime, especially robbery and homicide decreasing, while digital crime in many countries increases. This increase changes workload demands and requires new skillsets in addition to traditional investigation methods. Workplace stress has high financial and personal costs, impacting organisations, teams, family, friends, and the individual. For organisations and teams, occupational stress is associated with increases in workplace accidents, absenteeism, early retirement, higher intention to quit, lower motivation and disillusionment with work, all of which impacts the cohesion of forensic teams. The aim of this paper is to present a set of key evidence-based, targeted strategies that forensic science and policing agencies can roll-out in order to manage workplace stress, thereby managing the risk of higher turnover, absenteeism and lower workplace innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number301127
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International: Digital Investigation
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
EventDFRWS 2021 APAC - , Australia
Duration: 27 Jan 202129 Jan 2021
https://dfrws.org/conferences/dfrws-apac-2021/

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