Within the law enforcement and digital forensics communities, people will say, “What do they expect? It’s part of the job – they should be able to handle it.” However, technology has changed the type of evidence that is now processed in criminal cases, with more audio, video, and image evidence of the actual crime itself than ever before. In addition, almost every criminal investigation involves more than one form of digital evidence. In some cases, multimedia analysts need to enhance audio/video/image evidence in order to identify the actors or clarify the context of the situation, all of which may involve repeatedly viewing or hearing heinous acts (e.g., homicide, child sex abuse, torture).
Research shows criminal justice occupations are associated with high work-related stress leading to psychological illness and high burnout rates. This presentation will discuss the psychological well-being, job satisfaction, and coping mechanisms of digital and multimedia forensic analysts exposed to disturbing media. The overall goal is to better understand the well-being of digital and multimedia forensic analysts exposed to evidence from different types of criminal cases. The key takeaway: research shows the job is having a significant effect on their mental health, and it is important to identify successful interventions to alleviate burnout and poor psychological well-being.
Detailed Learning Objectives:
- Understand the existing research on the well-being of digital and multimedia forensic analysts;
- Raise awareness about the concept of secondary traumatic stress or vicarious stress; and
- Discuss current attitudes toward mental health services.