“I don’t want to be a victim again”: the impact of repeat assault on police officers

Louise Davidson, Amelia Dennis, Andriana Theodoropoulou, Holly Carter, Richard Amlôt, Ian Hesketh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: The frequency of assaults on police officers in the United Kingdom is rising and evidence suggests that exposure to work-place violence can negatively impact wellbeing, for example, increased perceived stress, feeling worn out and tired, and emotional exhaustion. Despite the prevalence of assaults on police officers, little research has examined the impact of repeat assaults on officers’ wellbeing. Method: For the current study, 12 semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate the impact of repeat assaults on wellbeing and occupational outcomes in police officers and staff, including impacts on their mental and physical heath, impacts on their work, the impact of prior assaults on future assaults, and what support they were provided with. Results: Findings indicate that repeat assaults had a negative impact on participants mental and physical wellbeing. Furthermore, a lack of support both from management and peers within the police force was found to further exacerbate the impact of repeat assaults. However, the provision of support was also identified as a mitigating factor when it was available and provided to participants which helped to protect participants from some of the negative impact of repeat assaults. Discussion: Findings provide a unique in-depth perspective into police officers’ experiences following repeat assaults, which can in turn inform national policies and help tailor effective support services within the police force.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1145944
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Davidson, Dennis, Theodoropoulou, Carter, Amlôt and Hesketh.

Keywords

  • leadership
  • mental wellbeing
  • occupational support
  • physical wellbeing
  • police officers
  • repeat assaults

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