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Mental Health Needs

Trauma Assessment and Intervention

Victims of crime are at increased risk of suffering from physical and mental health problems in the days, months, and years following their trauma. In order to minimize these negative effects of crime, service providers should follow several basic steps. First, a core needs assessment must be conducted. Second, care must be taken not to retraumatize the victim by the criminal or juvenile justice system process. Third, the psychological, social, and health effects of trauma identified in the needs assessment must be addressed. Fourth, for those in need, scientifically-supported multisession interventions should be implemented.

Learning objectives include:

  • The importance of victim assistance professionals conducting an assessment of victims' basic needs.
  • The psychological and social outcomes of trauma.
  • The medical and health outcomes of trauma.
  • Interventions for traumatized victims.
  • Characteristics of victims most likely to require mental health counseling.

 Stress Management

In the field of victim advocacy, conflicts can arise from the structure of organizations; the adversarial nature inherent in the justice systems; communication distortions and barriers; interpersonal or behavioral factors among individuals; and social conditions, such as conflicts of interest, dependency upon others for performance of one's job, and degree of participation in decision making within an organization or collaborative structure. This section discusses the unique stressors experienced by victim service providers, including those related to working with and providing advocacy for victims and dealing with the limitations, as well as adversarial nature, of the justice system. Techniques for recognizing and managing stress, preventing burnout, and conflict management are also presented.

Learning objectives include:

  • Unique sources of stress in working with crime victims.
  • How to recognize signs of stress.
  • How to recognize unhealthy coping skills.
  • Techniques to relieve stress and to help prevent stress from becoming burnout.
  • How to take charge of stress.
  • Guidelines for managing conflict.