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Psychological reactions of victims of violent crime

Bisson, Jonathan Ian and Shepherd, Jonathan Paul 1995. Psychological reactions of victims of violent crime. British Journal of Psychiatry 167 (6) , pp. 718-720. 10.1192/bjp.167.6.718

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Violent crime is on the increase. The 1992 British Crime Survey (Mayhew et al, 1993) revealed that 4.9% of men and 1.9% of women experienced violent crime (excluding domestic and sexual assaults) in 1991. This represented a 24% increase on the 1981 figures. The true incidence is likely to be much higher. Hough & Mayhew (1985) found that only 23% of woundings, 11% of robberies and 26% of sexual offences were recorded in police crime statistics. Research in accident and emergency departments (A&Es) has confirmed the magnitude of the 'dark figure' of unrecorded violent crime (Shepherd et al, 1987). The Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey (Heizer et al, 1987) found that 2.8% of a random sample of 2493 US adults were physically assaulted during the 18-month study period. Breslau et al (1991) studied 1007 young American adults of both sexes: 8.3% reported having been physically assaulted, and 1.6% having been raped. Some individuals are at increased risk of becoming victims of violence through their work. These include the police, bank employees and health professionals, particularly family practitioners, A&E doctors and nurses, and ambulance staff. O'Sullivan & Meagher (1995) surveyed 178 psychiatrists and found that 39% had been assaulted at work and 12% had been physically injured as a result. The psychological reactions of victims of violent crime have much in common with those experienced by victims of other traumatic events, including major disasters. Although research on other traumatic stressors should stimulate the development of hypotheses that can be tested in studies of victims of violent crime, Green (1982) has cautioned against overgeneralisation between different traumas in the field of traumatic stress.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN: 0007-1250
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:57

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