Help seeking among victims of crime: A review of the empirical literature

Author(s)McCart M.R., Smith D.W., Sawyer G.K.
Title Help seeking among victims of crime: A review of the empirical literature
Source Journal of Traumatic Stress. 2010 Mar 24
Date 2010
Document type Journal article
Summary This article reviews and synthesises the available literature on help-seeking behaviours among adult victims of crime. Formal helpers such as law enforcement officials, and informal helpers, such as family and friends, are considered and the prevalence rates for each type are examined. The predictors of help seeking are examined in various categories, such as reporting to law enforcement, seeking mental health services and seeking medical care. Two common predisposing characteristics associated with reporting a crime to police are victim gender and ethnicity. The significant predisposing characteristics as predictors for informal help seeking were victim age and education history with more education and a younger age associated with a greater likelihood of informal help seeking. The barriers to help seeking were examined, with barriers to reporting crimes to police, for example, categorised according to emotional or instrumental barriers. A number of suggestions are made for future research, such as examining in more detail help seeking behaviour of male victims of violence, or exploring the issue of how to optimise the delivery of victim services such as through coordination of services.
Keywords Help seeking; service barriers; formal support; informal support
Topic Service delivery