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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90220 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Health Needs of Sexual Assault Victims (From National Symposium on Victimology - Proceedings, P 221-233, 1982, P N Grabosky, ed. - See NCJ-90209)
Author(s): R Chambers
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The rape victim must cope with physical trauma of varying degrees of severity as well as the emotional impact of such trauma and the fear of disease and pregnancy, along with problems associated with reporting the rape to authorities, telling family and friends, and negotiating the road back to health.
Abstract: Rape is a seriously stressful, disruptive experience, and the effects are individually manifest immediately and long after the incident. The primary feeling during the incident is fear of physical injury and death. Emotional reactions in the initial stages after the incident include humiliation, embarrassment, anger, self-blame, and the desire for revenge. Styles of reaction include expressive feelings of fear and anxiety or a controlled masking of feelings through an outward calm. Problems that must be addressed after the rape are reporting it to the authorities, telling family and friends, and undergoing treatment to restore mental and physical health. Problems in the reporting phase can be relieved by procedures that display a sensitivity to the feelings of the victim; e.g., in New South Wales (Australia), the rape victim is taken as soon as possible to a sexual assault crisis center at one of the general hospitals in Sydney and is usually interviewed there by a female police officer. It is important at an early stage to ask the victim about her wishes regarding contact with relatives and friends and to respect these wishes in the course of investigating the crime and providing victim services. In helping the victim back to mental health, it is important to maintain contact over a long period after the incident without being intrusive or interfering with the victim's own efforts to maintain the control and management of her life and adaptive strategies. Twenty-three references are provided.
Index Term(s): Australia; Sexual assault trauma; Sexual assault victims; Victim medical assistance; Victim reactions to crime; Victim services
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