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

7.0 Pulling it Together: Concluding Remarks

Crime victims deserve timely, effective interventions that help them cope with their victimization and return to the best level of functioning possible. This manual is designed to provide recent research information to help workers develop and deliver services. Those who deliver front-line services to crime victims often face people dealing with extreme distress, who have poor coping skills, mental health issues, little social support, who may have experienced repeated victimization and so forth. Basically, victims are a diverse group who have diverse reactions and require diverse services. It is important to note that all workers in victim services are dealing with these complex issues, from reception staff dealing with walk-in visits and telephone calls to those workers conducting groups and individual interventions. All these people can benefit from the information in this manual.

All workers should spend some time and effort in identifying and practising self-care activities. These skills will help them take care of themselves, their clients and their colleagues. Workers must be in their best mental state to help victims make decisions, learn new coping strategies, address supports, and build motivation. Further, workers can use the above research and theoretical information to help understand likely victim reactions and to improve intervention planning. By being forewarned, workers can adjust their interventions to the specific needs of each client. Such adjustments are central to bringing clients the best service possible. Workers should also note that the information and skills discussed above may help others affected by crime, such as a victim’s natural support system. Workers are likely very familiar with working with the victim’s supports in ensuring a healthy environment for the victim.

7.1 Key Research Points

As noted above, one goal of this manual is to give workers a reference to key research findings and to make links to helping victims.  This section summarizes much of the above research for quick reference. By using Casarez-Levison's (1992) model to anchor key research findings, readers may gain insight into what faces the crime victim coping with victimization and recovery. Workers may want to keep the following issues in mind when working with victims and their supports.


This stage focuses on the previctimization adaptation level of the person (Casarez-Levison 1992).  Here workers will want to gather a relatively comprehensive history, either through a formal interview or through their normal ways of gathering information. The following elements should be covered: