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NCJ Number: 97303 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Health Needs of Victims - An Introduction to the Literature (From Rape and Sexual Assault, P 35-45, 1985, Ann W Burgess, ed. See NCJ-97300)
Author(s): C R Tsegaye-Spates
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Garland Publishing, Inc.
New York, NY 10003-3304
Sale Source: Garland Publishing, Inc.
19 Union Square
West Floor 8
New York, NY 10003-3304
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and victims should understand the stages of victims' reactions to crime, so that intervention can be appropriately developed and responsively implemented.
Abstract: Victims do not all have the same reactions to crime. However, victims usually encounter several stages of emotional reaction. In the first stage, the victim may feel numb and disoriented as well as behave automatically. The victim may next experience strong shifts in emotion involving contradictory feelings. Feelings may include fear, anger, a sense of well-being, sadness, elation, self-pity, and guilt. In the final stage, the victim usually resolves the trauma. However, the victim's views of self and the world have permanently changed. Several theoretical models have been proposed for understanding victimization. Ochberg and Spates suggest the use of an analogy to Lindemann's model of the grief process. Horowitz describes victimization in terms of the stress response syndrome. Selye's model focuses on the pattern described as the 'general adaptive syndrome,' consisting of three stages of response. Dohrenwend presents the psychosocial model of stress, emphasizing how the individual's psychological characteristics and environmental situations combine to produce a stressful life event. This model identifies three possible outcomes for the victim: psychological growth, no substantial change, and psychopathology. Both formal and informal helpers should consider several factors in responding to victims' psychological needs. Protection and material aid are the immediate needs. Crisis intervention is essential to ensuring the victim's maximum emotional recovery. Victims must be guided into experiencing a sense of power immediately to counteract the sense of helplessness precipitated by the attack. Bystanders, hospital personnel, and other professionals must recognize this need. Professionals must provide direct and indirect help to victims. Twenty-seven references are listed.
Index Term(s): Psychological victimization effects; Reactions to crime; Sexual assault victims; Theory; Victim services
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