Society’s Safe-Keepers, are at risk for developing secondary trauma from being exposed to violent information. Being responsible for the supervision and rehabilitation of a difficult population, SSK are at risk of physical and emotional stress. This population they supervise have multiple problems and needs. They have engaged in self-destructive behavior, behaved uncaringly, and have hurt others.
I do not believe everyone can or should work in this area. Professionals who work with this population are vulnerable to judgment, anger, and other negative interactions. This usually occurs while working with clients, but competitive colleagues, unsupportive supervisors, aggressive attorneys, and other people in the patients' lives who are difficult to work with can also contribute to feelings of frustration and demoralization.
Every client brings with him/her the story of his/her victim(s). One cannot help but be impacted by this. When a story about a victim loses its impact on the helper, it is time to seek consultation with a trusted colleague or supervisor, or to explore whether or not to remain in this field. Vicarious (or secondary) trauma is a workplace hazard. Vicarious trauma can occur when we are empathically engaged with victims, either through speaking with others or reading the criminal reports that describe the offense(s) in great detail (McCann & Pearlman, 1990).
Therefore, SSK must care for themselves so that they can be role models of caring while holding those they supervise accountable and responsible for their actions. SSK need to be knowledgeable and skillful in addressing specific problems such as sex offending behavior, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness and social violence. This is difficult work and SSK need to develop self-care strategies to alleviate the stress encountered during the course of their work. The practice of compassion, loving-kindness, and forgiveness unites humanity. Forgiveness does not expunge or eliminate responsibility for hurtful and wrongful choices made by others. Forgiveness occurs when the wrong thinking, beliefs and values that separate one from another and lead to hurting self and others are corrected and eradicated. Forgiveness is the practice of transpersonal caring and healing and not separation.
Dr. Giovannoni offers workshops for SSK and Health Care Professionals: "CARING SCIENCE: SELF-CARE TO REDUCE STRESS AND BURN-OUT"