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New Directions From the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century- Health Care Community

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
After reviewing the role of the health care community in providing medical assistance for crime victims, this paper reviews established programs, promising practices, and professional education and training and provides 14 recommendations for improving such services.
This paper is a reprint of chapter 7 from "New Directions From the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century." It notes that the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime recognized that the medical community is often the first to come into contact with crime victims who have experienced some form of injury. The 1982 Task Force recommendations focused on the clinical setting and the need for hospital personnel to be sensitized to the emotional trauma of victimization and to treat the whole patient, not just the physical manifestations of the criminal violence. Since the Task Force's final report was released, significant advances have been made in identifying and treating victims of family abuse, providing supportive services for sexual assault victims, and reimbursing crime victims for medical expenses. Recommendations for the health care community regarding crime victim services include suggestions pertinent to including victim issues in professional education curricula, the assessment of patients for abuse, hospital protocols about the rights and needs of crime victims, medical "gateway" services for crime victims, the protocol for the medical examination of sexual assault victims, and cultural competency guidelines to improve victim screening and intervention services. Other recommendations pertain to counseling and prevention programs, hospital security and safety procedures, the use of technology to improve medical services for crime victims, and specialized neuro-psychological evaluation for catastrophic physical injury victims. 31 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1998