Secondary Trauma And Its Impact On Children 's Caseworkers Who Work With Traumatized Children
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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
In this chapter I briefly introduce the topic of secondary trauma and its impact on Children’s Caseworkers who work with traumatized children. Next I explain the problem statement and the research question. In the last sections of the chapter, I include a list of key definitions and limitations and delimitations, explain my perspective as researcher of this study.
Secondary Trauma, Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue are terms used sometimes interchangeably to refer to the reaction that the helping professionals have after being exposed to traumatic experiences of their clients (Sexton, 1999). Child welfare professionals who work on the front lines with maltreated children and their families each day most likely experience vicarious traumatization due to frequent exposure to traumatic material (Baird & Jenkins, 2003). They hear and read about the traumatic events that children endure within their families. These events include serious physical injuries; torture; rape, incest, and other forms of sexual abuse; pervasive neglect; the witnessing of domestic violence; and sometimes even the death of a child. (Bell, Kulkarni, & Dalton, 2003; Harrison, 1995).
In order for public child welfare workers to effectively intervene and help victims, they must open their hearts and minds to feeling what went on with the child and his/her family, in the past and presently (Figley, 2002). This openness is referred to as empathy. Empathy must be