Do trials of perpetrators retraumatize crime victims?            

Author(s)Orth, Ulrich and Andreas Maercker
Title Do trials of perpetrators retraumatize crime victims?
Source Journal of Interpersonal Violence, February 2004, Vol 19, No. 2, pp 212-227
Date 2004
Document type Journal article
Coverage Germany
Summary The authors in this article explore the effects of trials on victims through two studies. The first study examines the long-term effects of trials, measuring posttraumatic stress reactions using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and also measuring victimological variables. The second study is a longitudinal analysis of the short term effects of trials, with data collected a few weeks before the trial and a few weeks after the trial. In the first study only moral satisfaction significantly increased the variance explained by demographic and victimological variables. Trial variables, such as the court decision, stress caused by testimony and victim blaming during the proceedings were not found to be important in the prediction of posttraumatic avoidance. The results from both studies showed that trials of perpetrators so not cause retraumatisation among the crime victims involved, either in the short term or the long term. The authors caution generality of the findings due to the low response rates in the study and the self-reporting design of the study.
Keywords Criminal justice system; trials; re-traumatisation; secondary traumatisation; posttraumatic stress disorder.

Criminal justice system