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The emotional impact of homicide investigation: a neglected but vital issue

Foster, Janet (2023) The emotional impact of homicide investigation: a neglected but vital issue. In: Allsop, Cheryl and Pike, Sophie, (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Homicide Investigation. Routledge International Handbooks. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, 334 - 352. ISBN 9781032047263

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Identification Number: 10.4324/9781003195283-30


The emotional impact of homicide investigation is a very under-researched area. Yet, homicide investigators deal with death every day and are exposed to traumatic scenes and interactions with witnesses and victims’ families on an ongoing basis. This chapter explores the social, cultural, and organisational factors that shape emotions in homicide investigation and the coping strategies detectives employ to minimise the impact of the work. Although emotions are often viewed negatively there are vitally important positive emotions associated with homicide investigation that are linked with the nature of the work and its moral content, and these contribute to ‘emotional energy’ (Collins, 2005) and a sense of pride and satisfaction with the work. Furthermore, despite arguing that homicide investigation has little impact on them, homicide detectives are affected by the powerful ‘primary’ emotions (Turner, 2007) murder evokes while their contacts with victims’ families generate sadness and a desire to get some justice on their behalf. It is argued that rather than denying emotions as is so common in policing, acknowledging their importance and impact is crucial.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 selection and editorial matter, the editors; individual chapters, the contributors.
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2024 10:00
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 18:57

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