By Safe Call Now’s Dr. Laura Brodie Ph.D.
Working sex crimes is a necessity to protect the innocent and vulnerable. The sexual crimes of human trafficking, child pornography, prostitution and child molestation are crimes that devastate victim’s lives and destroy trust. Individuals working these crimes do so in order to attempt to stop the devastation. However, there has been little attention given to the psychological damage that can be created by performing these investigations.
The human brain was not designed to undergo the trauma of a sexual crime. Looking at images, listening to victims and interrogating perpetrators of these offenses leave marks on the psyche that are somewhat subtle at first, but can develop into psychological difficulties that are more profound. There Is a phenomena of secondary trauma that can occur where the investigator develops symptoms similar to the victim. A development of the feelings that the world is not safe creates fear, which may manifest itself in anxiety, depression, isolation or numbness as a reaction to the atrocities the officer has to endure in the course of an investigation.
We as humans are relational beings and intimacy is part of our psychological make up. When someone is exposed to the perversion of intimacy it can result in changes in their own relationships, anywhere from repulsion of intimacy itself to believing everyone is sexually disturbed and it’s just a matter of time before it occurs. The violation of something so private as feelings regarding relationships is tragic. Wanting to help others and save victims turns the helper into another victim of the perversion.
Few if any departments recognize the toll sex crimes plays on the ones doing the investigations. There is little if any down time between cases and debriefing is not a thought. The accumulation of numerous accounts of these types of crimes can result in a build–up of trauma and numbness to others develops as a self-protection mechanism. The problem with this numbing is that it is not under conscious control and not only happens on the job but carries over to personal relationships. There is rarely a discussion how the job affects the home life of law enforcers in general, let alone what sex crime work does to the private lives of the investigators.
Investigators need to protect what they have at home because that is who will be there at the end of the day.
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Published by armorupnow
Sean Riley is the Founder and President of Safe Call Now, a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. Safe Call Now was started in 2009 after legislation was passed guaranteeing confidentiality nationwide for all who call the Safe Call Now crisis line that is staffed by current and former first responders.
Sean played baseball for San Diego State University and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration. He started his law enforcement career as a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff in 1987 and later relocated to Washington State in 1990. Sean spent over 16 years with the Kirkland Police Department. His many accomplishments include being a member of the International Homicide Investigator's Association, Homicide and Sexual Assault Detective, Interview and Interrogation Specialist, D.A.R.E. Officer, Gang Officer and Certified Training Officer. Riley is also credited with solving one of the first ever elder abuse homicide cases in the nation.
Sean's prominent career in law enforcement ended in 2005 when he could no longer hide his "secret" behind the badge. Sean threw away his almost 20-year stellar police career due to alcohol and drug addiction and was headed towards suicide to become just another unknown statistic. In addition to attending college for substance abuse counseling, Sean worked as a supervisor at a local treatment center where he witnessed many public safety employees coming in and out of treatment. Riley decided to do something about it. From his own experience, he knew that first responders wanted to come forward to help, but due to the stigma attached, they would not. Admitting to a substance abuse or mental health problem is perceived as a sign of weakness and could result in the termination from a noble career. By creating a safe and confidential place to reach out for help, first responders are now coming forward in droves from around the nation to better their lives, better their families and better their careers.
Recognized as a dynamic national keynote speaker, Sean travels throughout the country to share his inspirational story. Coupled with cutting edge, interactive training, Riley hits those once thought of as "taboo" or "controversial" topics head-on.
"Safe Call Now provides education, healthy alternatives, resources and a complete continuum of care to save lives and put families back together. Through a collaborative effort, Safe Call Now has discovered when you provide an opportunity for an individual to get their life and their family back, you get one great employee back out serving the public."
- Sean Riley, Founder/President
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