Victim Services

Karen S. Knox

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
Victim Services

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According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, from 1993–2015 the rate of violent crime has decreased from 79.8 to 18.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age twelve or over, with an estimated five million violent victimizations in 2015 (Truman and Morgan 2016, cited under Reference Works). While there have been many theories about this decrease, there is still no consensus on why this trend has occurred. Changing population demographics, an improved economy, decreases in drug and crack use/crimes, increased ownership of firearms, increases in police forces and innovative policing protocols, increased incarceration, and decreases in illegal abortion have been postulated as possible contributors to the decrease in the crime victimization rate, which was also seen globally. Crime victims, their families, and friends receive services in the aftermath of the traumatic incident from social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other helping professionals across a range of settings, such as law enforcement, the court systems, corrections, and probation/parole. As frontline responders on the scene, police-based victim services have unique opportunities to intervene at a critical time for intervention: immediately after the offense and during the investigation: Generally, brief, time-limited crisis intervention services and referrals for continued therapy and other services are provided by victim services programs based in law enforcement. Victim assistance services at the court level are provided during the hearings and focus primarily on case notification and advocacy, witness testimony, and crisis intervention. During the court processes, survivors, family members, and significant others may experience re-traumatization as a result of the court proceedings that bring up memories, emotional reactions, and psychological disturbance. Victim witness advocates assess and refer clients for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and grief and loss issues that indicate the need for continuing long-term therapy. Restorative justice programs are found at the corrections and probation/parole levels and provide services for crime survivors and family members that include release and parole notification, victim impact panels, victim-offender mediation, and restitution programs. However, the National Crime Victimization Survey reports that only 9.1 percent of victims of violent crime received assistance from a victim services agency in 2015 (Truman and Morgan 2016, cited under Reference Works).

Article.  12669 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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