Medical Whistleblower Canary Notes Newsletter 8 Crime Victim
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Many states have legislation that addresses the rights of victim’s of crime. The broad range of psychological and social injuries that crime victims experience may persist long after the visible ...
Many states have legislation that addresses the rights of victim’s of crime. The broad range of psychological and social injuries that crime victims experience may persist long after the visible physical wounds have healed. Victimization by a crime is a life shattering experience leading to intense feelings of fear, anger, depression, isolation, low self esteem, helplessness and lost of trust in the basic processes of the social community. Crime victims have reason to question the basic assumptions that the world is a safe place to live, that people are good and decent, that the law enforcement will protect you and that the justice system will preserve your rights. Any survivor of prolonged and repeated trauma such as domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse or hate crimes will often suffer severe mental health problems. This is also true of repeated bullying in the playground or prolonged sexual harassment at the workplace. The emotional damage can be compounded by a lack of support and even stigmatization by friends, family, and social institutions, producing secondary trauma for victims. Those who are closest to the victim may also be vicariously traumatized by the crime, and thus be overwhelmed by their own anger, fear, and guilt that they are unable to provide emotional support and understanding. Those around the crime victim try to establish a distance between themselves and the crime victim which they see as damaged. Sometimes people will even see the victim as responsible for their own fate. This insensitivity by social workers, co-workers, acquaintances and even family will cause the crime victim to feel re-victimized. The lack of sensitivity in the criminal or justice process which puts the rights of the accused ahead of those of the victim, often traumatizes the victim again. The ability to seek justice is very important for crime victims as they seek to remake their lives and heal the deep wounds. Often an opportunity to tell their story helps them validate their loss and express their deep sense of loss. When victims are not allowed participation in the justice system and a voice in their own destiny, their feeling of trauma are intensified and prolonged.
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