Vicarious traumatisation experiences among South African Police Service members in a rural setting: An exploratory study

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 27, issue 5, 2017 , pages: 433–437
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2017.1375207
Author(s): Masefako Andronica GumaniDepartment of Psychology, South Africa


The objective of this study was to explore the vicarious traumatisation experiences of South African Police Service members serving in a rural community. The participants consisted of 17 purposively selected police members (females = 4; age range 27 to 55; average years of police service = 10.6 years). Unstructured face-to-face interviews were conducted on the members’ experiences with trauma events where they were called upon to provide police services. Additionally, field notes, telephone follow-ups, and diaries were used to collect data from the members. The data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological approach guidelines. Findings show the police members to report their outlook on life to change from viewing work-life as routine and impersonal, to viewing it as involved and personal. The police members also reported psychological disorientation and being in a sense of stupor from exposure to traumatic cases. Finally, the police members self-reported empathetic experiences with the survivors as concerned citizen parents.

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