Living conditions and the world of work have undergone significant changes over time. Socio-economic changes increased uncertainty, professional instability, corporate restructuring, increased workload, and pace of work are associated with increased psychosocial risks (PSR). There is a growing lack of boundaries between work and leisure and greater difficulty in balancing personal, family, and professional life . PSR has thus been recognized as a public health concern and one of the greatest challenges for occupational safety and health . According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work , work-connected PSR involves "all aspects relating to work performance, as well as organization and management and their social and environmental contexts, which have the potential to cause physical, social or psychological harm".
With the outbreak of the COronaVIrus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, many people have been forced to remote work and face a high workload . An example of this is the health sector or even workers providing support to victims. Remote work may entail some challenges and demands, namely that it implies being more exposed to certain specific risks, such as isolation, difficulties in separating work from domestic tasks, greater risk of conflicts, and domestic violence. In crisis situations such as the one generated by COVID-19, job insecurity is additionally considered, namely the fear of losing jobs, suffering cuts and salary reduction, possible dismissal, and reduction of benefits. Indeed, the research shows the existence of other risks (e.g., greater job instability and financial concerns associated with the pandemic situation) to people's mental health, making them more vulnerable to the development of anxiety and depression problems . It is, therefore, keeping victim support services active, respecting the public security measures imposed by the pandemic situation (e.g., wearing masks and social distancing, rules of self-isolation, and closure of non-essential). In the debate over the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, it is speculated that the measures imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 introduced considerable changes in our daily lives [cf. 4, 5, 7]
. This may have profound implications for work organization, progressively stimulating greater digitization of work , resulting in more layoffs.
Psychosocial risks in victim support workers
Victim support workers (VSW) are professionals with specific knowledge and training to support victims of crime and violence. In their daily work, VSW listen to traumatic stories and must deal with critical situations daily. Working with victims and offenders poses numerous challenges for the VSW, implying some exposure to experiences of both victimization and offenses, having a potentially negative impact on the emotional well-being of these professionals . There has been an increasing awareness that professionals who support traumatised people are also at risk of developing various psychological problems when considering the specific demands of the tasks involved in their job [8, 9]. The contact or exposure to victims with a traumatic experience, e.g., adult victims with experiences of sexual victimization or sexually abused children, may trigger vicarious trauma in VSW. This is explained by the degree of exposure of the VSW to images of terror, which are considered cruel and emotionally disturbing, and which can promote the occurrence of negative changes in the coaches' cognitive scheme around truth, security, power, independence, self-esteem, and intimacy . Lisa et al.  also considered the greater vulnerability of these professionals to the development of burnout. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves different symptoms such as anger, anxiety, depression, intrusive images related to the victims' experiences, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, difficulties in falling asleep, nightmares, somatic complaints, or physiological activation, which are also presented by VSW [8, 11]. Likewise, Andersen et al.  also show that the work-related threats also increased the risk for PTSD in the long term, especially for workers dealing with the forensic population. Similarly, Zammitti et al.  show that fear may also play an important role in developing PTSD symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in individuals who have experienced negative feelings. However, a meta-synthesis developed by Cohen and Collens , based on the analysis of twenty qualitative studies carried out on the experiences of trauma workers, concluded both for the negative emotional potential and the impact of traumatic work, usually presented within the framework of vicarious trauma, but also by growth, as a consequence of workers' involvement in traumatic work. Vicarious trauma, i.e., personal transformations experienced by trauma workers , and vicarious posttraumatic growth, i.e., overcoming and positive psychological change experienced [14, 15], thus emerged as two processes that result from an empathic involvement with traumatized victims and occur due to challenges to current cognitive schemas that allow their adaptation . It should be noted that the impact of traumatic victimization tends, however, to differ from one VSW to another, as these reactions are often associated with a complex interaction between organizational issues and the individual worker's characteristics .
Exposure to PSR factors in the work and surrounding social environment affects the productivity of organizations, leading to many effects for workers, such as work overload, role ambiguity, lack of social support, or work-family conflict . The development of mental and health disorders, which can involve sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, work accidents, absenteeism, and occupational diseases have been identified as other effects on workers . Side effects at the organization's resilience can be observed, for example, through chronic situations of absenteeism, high turnover, and lack of organizational commitment .
The negative impact of stress at work and PSR on physical and psychological health has been the subject of numerous studies [e.g., 14,16,16], and different instruments are also emerging to identify and assess this phenomenon . The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) is an example of the most widely used instruments to assess PSR and has been used in various occupational sectors . A systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by Molen et al.  concluded by moderate-quality evidence that effort-reward imbalance, low procedural and relational justice, high work demand, low support from colleagues and supervisors, high emotional demand, and low decision authority would increase the incidence of stress-related disorders (20% to 90%). In a systematic literature review, Mccormack et al.  also found that workload and work settings are the most common work demands and factors that contribute to burnout among applied psychologists.
Three broad categories of PSR are thus identified [2, 20]: (i) job content, such as conflicting demands, lack of role clarity, lack of training and development opportunities; (ii) work organization involving excessive workloads and work intensity, few rest breaks, shift schedules; contradictory superior requirements, ineffective communication, and poor work-life balance, and (iii) work-related interpersonal relationships, e.g., the lack of clarity in the definition of roles, conflicts and poor relationship between workers, lack of opportunities for promotion and development, lack of rewards, job insecurity.
The PSR is one of the greatest occupational health and safety challenges, evidenced by the mental and social demands that certain psychosocial factors (e.g., work organization, working hours, social relationships, work content, and workload) impose on workers. The psychological and social aspects of work are also other factors with a decisive role in the workplace and a considerable and growing impact on the health and well-being of workers .
Additionally, the costs of occupational health problems to both productivity and/or health have been recognized . The lack of psychological health at work and the considerable human costs end up having an impact on organizations, society, and the economy. In this sense, it is estimated that the loss of productivity can represent a cost of up to 3.2 billion euros per year for companies worldwide . The greater awareness of the impact that PSR can have on workers means that the concern for the well-being of workers in the workplace has come to assume more and more relevance.
Overall, the literature is consensual about the impact that PSR may have on workers' well-being and mental health. This stimulates increased investment research in this field to prevent risk and promote healthy environments for workers, thus resulting in productivity and organizational growth . The Portuguese research focused on PSR factors is scarce. The few existing studies are focused on the workers' health [e.g., 21, 22], active adults, i.e., the general population, COVID-19 professionals involved, or COVID-19 affected professionals, including psychologists . Many of them aimed only to analyse the psychometric characteristics of the COPSOQ [e.g., 23, 24].
There are no known studies on the PSR of VSW in the Portuguese context, so this study is considered innovative in this perspective. It is also the first Portuguese study intending to characterize the work-related PSR in a sample of Portuguese VSW, with a special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic period. Specifically, it is intended to:
characterize the work condition and general support provided by VSW during the COVID-19 pandemic period;
identify the levels of PSR factors for the health of VSW in each of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire II (COPSOQ II) during the pandemic period;
analyse the PSR factors according to age and working conditions (f2f vs. remote work vs. mixed work) of the VSWs, during the COVID-19 pandemic period