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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 18-24, 2004 banner

Mental Health Issues of Victims

Crime victims show much higher incidences of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than people who had not been victimized by crime. Research shows that 25 percent of crime victims experienced lifetime PTSD and 9.7 percent had current PTSD (PTSD within 6 months of being surveyed), whereas 9.4 percent of people who had not been victims of crime had lifetime PTSD and 3.4 percent had current PTSD. (Kilpatrick, Dean and R. Acierno. “Mental Health Needs of Crime Victims: Epidemiology and Outcomes.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2003,:1612.)

Adolescents and young adults are at a higher risk of victimization and are more likely to develop PTSD after being victimized. (Ibid.)

Women who experienced a homicide of a family member or close friend had higher levels of PTSD than non-homicide survivors - 22 percent experienced lifetime PTSD and 8.9 percent had current PTSD. (Ibid.)

Molestation victims also report high levels of PTSD as an effect of the victimization. The National Institute of Health’s Co-morbidity Study found that 12.2 percent of men and 26.5 percent of women who were molested developed PTSD. (Ibid.)

Depression is a major factor in the mental health of crime victims, as well - 36.6 percent of people diagnosed with PTSD also suffer from depression. (Ibid.)

Victims of rape are 13.4 times more likely to develop two or more alcohol-related problems and 26 times more likely to have two or more serious drug abuse-related problems. (Ibid.)

Thirty-two percent of female rape victims and 38 percent of female physical assault victims experience lifetime PTSD. Twelve percent of female rape victims and 17 percent of female physical assault victims experienced PTSD in the six months prior to being interviewed. (Ibid.)

Twenty-eight percent (28%) of male teens who are sexually assaulted develop PTSD, compared to 5 percent of males teens who have not been sexually assaulted. (National Institute of Justice. 2002. Child and Adolescent Victimization in America: Prevalence and Implications. Washington, DC.)

Eleven percent of students in New York City had PTSD six months after the September 11th attacks. This rate is 5 times the rate of PTSD found in students outside of NYC. (Cloitre, Marylene. “Lessons Learned in 9/11: Considerations in the Development of School-Based Interventions Following Large Scale Violence.” National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Clinical Quarterly, 2002: 11(3).)

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Victims' Rights: America's Values April 18–24, 2004
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