The impact of criminal justice involvement on victims mental health                

Author(s)Parsons, Jim and Tiffany Bergin
Title The impact of criminal justice involvement on victims' mental health
Source Journal of Thematic Stress, April 2010, Vol 23. No 2, pp 182-188
Date 2010
Document type Journal article
Summary In this article the authors review the literature to explore how contact with the criminal justice system affects the mental health of adult crime victims. A number of studies suggest that contact with the justice system can lead to a secondary victimisation. Common features of the criminal justice system that can affect victims' mental health are discussed, including the impact of law enforcement practices, the adversarial nature of trials, the availability of information for victims and the importance of participation in courtroom proceedings. Three emergent best practices are explored in depth: the use of victim services and victim advocates; victim impact statements, and non-adversarial methods of dispute resolution, including restorative justice. Gaps in the research on the needs of victims, their expectations of the justice system and the mental health impacts of reporting and prosecuting crimes are also discussed.
Keywords Criminal justice system; mental health victims; secondary victimisation; participation; victim impact statements.

Criminal justice system