Forensics: Candid discussion on PTSD from noted Scot forensic expert

SCOTLAND’S top forensic scientist has revealed she is suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after watching hours of distressing footage.

Professor Sue Black, from Dundee University, has spent nearly 30 years on the front line investigating some of the UK’s most gruesome crimes.

It has made her one of the nation’s leading experts with police around the world calling on her services.

But the professor, who also used her expertise to identify those killed in the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, has admitted that having to watch images of child sex abuse left her struggling with PTSD.

Professor Sue Black is one of the world's leading forensic scientists

Professor Sue Black is one of the world’s leading forensic scientists


She recalls seeing her teenage daughter dancing with a man at her school dance – entirely innocently – and being overwhelmed by a physical rush of emotion.

“I was warned by a senior police officer not to do this, that when the images are in your head, you can’t get rid of them,” she said.

“PTSD can affect you at any time and you don’t know what the trigger will be.”

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

Forensic PTSD copy

Professor Sue Black’s comments are short but extremely relevant. She should be commended for speaking of her personal experience.

I suggest that forensic training courses and academic programs should recognize the subject of forensic-related PTSD prevention and treatment in their curricula.

The CSI glamorization of forensic experience is surely a myth.

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