A Qualitative Study of Emotional Labour among Domestic Violence Shelter Workers : Interviews with professional social workers

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för socialt arbete och kriminologi; Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för socialt arbete och kriminologi

Abstract: The aim of this study was to explore the emotional labour of domestic violence shelter workers. A qualitative approach was used and four professionals were interviewed. The interviewees described that they were expected to provide different types of services which include empowering their clients so that they can survive independently after leaving the shelter. The findings showed that the shelter workers hide or suppress different types of emotions, especially when they are frustrated or emotionally affected by the client's situation. According to the workers, they experienced stress as a consequence of the emotional labour, and they expressed that working in the field of domestic violence had made it difficult for them to trust men. Making a difference in the lives of the clients was described as a source of motivation and help them to cope with the negative aspects of the shelter work. Even though the findings cannot be generalised, the study provides comprehensive information about how emotional labour in this particular context can be perceived. The shelter workers described that the levels of satisfaction they get from helping clients resolve their problems were more significant than the negative consequences of emotional labour.

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