Working with victims of crime: A manual applying research to clinical practice (Second Edition)


The challenges that face people working with crime victims can seem daunting. Those who work in this area often show an investment in this population that goes beyond the standard research study. An understanding of psychological changes that relate to being victimized is a key part of understanding the crime victim’s internal world. The victim’s ability to cope with the crime, crime-related trauma and later decision-making are an important part of even the most basic personal contact. This document is based upon a 2003 Department of Justice Canada publication entitled: Victims’ response to trauma and implications for interventions: A selected review and synthesis of the literature (Hill 2003). In that document I explored the cognitive change in victims; how victim characteristics, cognitive changes and coping skills impact clinical understanding and interventions. In that document, I intentionally focused on relatively recent research to reflect recent thinking in this area.

This manual is focused on applying these research findings to the daily challenges that face those who work with crime victims, in any capacity. There are several reasons having recent research at one’s fingertips can be useful. First, having research support for your work can validate the work that you are doing. Second, front-line workers can learn new approaches and get new ideas from research, improving their effectiveness and services to clients. Third, it is my hope that clinicians, paraprofessionals, volunteers and administrative staff will use this resource as a solid base on which to build an effective service. Finally, they can use this information to educate themselves, victims and the victims’ friends, families and other supports about the complex psychological issues facing victims of crime.

The interpretations in this document are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of the Department of Justice Canada or its employees