This report was published in Forensic Science International: Synergy, a journal of peer-reviewed, open-access research on a broad range of forensic science disciplines. Since the start of the journal in 2019, the FSI: Synergy’s aim is to advance and support forensic science while exceeding its expectations for excellence.

Report Date

Forensic Science International: Synergy, Volume 2, 2020, Pages 310-316


Vicarious trauma (VT) has been studied in mental health experts for over 30 years due to their engagement with victims of trauma and exposure to details of events, crimes, and tragedies experienced by their patients. Recently, VT studies have been extended to first responders as they also engage with victims on a level which may affect their own wellbeing. First responders involved in the criminal justice system, such as law enforcement personnel, have benefited from these studies as the results have helped drive organizational change. However, other professionals throughout the criminal justice system, such as forensic scientists, have had far fewer studies published, and the awareness of VT they may be experiencing has only recently come to light. While this review is not exhaustive of all literature on VT, it showcases key studies and research gaps that could benefit the forensic science community and associated criminal justice system professionals.

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