U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Psychic Trauma in Victims of Crime and Terrorism (From Cataclysm, Crises, and Catastrophes: Psychology in Action Master Lecture Series, 1987, G R VandenBos and B K Bryant, eds.)

NCJ Number
C J Frederick
Date Published
50 pages
This paper identifies general psychic trauma in victims of crime and terrorism and the specific psychological effects of certain types of crime and terrorism, followed by brief suggestions for treating such victimization effects.
After defining 'victim,' 'crime,' and 'terrorism,' this paper discusses infrahuman and physiological aspects of psychic trauma. A discussion of diagnostic criteria for psychic trauma addresses unmasking symptoms, assessment instruments, and a comparison of the psychological and physiological effects of psychic trauma. Psychological effects are discussed for specific types of victimization: natural and human-induced disasters, hostagetaking, being a prisoner of war, physical assault, sexual abuse, and terrorism. A section covers psychic trauma in children. The concluding section briefly discusses group treatment for traumatized victims. Some general treatment conclusions are that the rendering of emergency mental health services as soon as possible after the trauma is very important. Incident specific treatment should be used. Persons with proven professional backgrounds in mental health must be trained to perform diagnostic and treatment subtleties for traumatized victims. 113 references.