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From Pain to Power: Crime Victims Take Action

NCJ Number
Date Published
55 pages
This monograph chronicles ways in which many crime victims are channeling their pain into helping others, improving their communities, and healing themselves at the same time; it describes opportunities for victims who want to become active in their communities and recommends ways for victim service programs to involve victims in community service.
Following an overview of the effects of crime on its victims, the monograph addresses some of the benefits of community involvement for crime victims. These include the rebuilding of self-esteem, reducing isolation, regaining a sense of power, and dealing with fear and anger. Examples of community involvement described are victim assistance, victims' rights advocacy, and violence prevention. The monograph identifies some caveats regarding victim activism. Because victims recover in different ways and have different needs, community action is not appropriate for all crime victims. The individual's personality and history of victimization may play a role in determining whether community involvement will be helpful in recovery, and the availability of emotional and financial supports may be a factor in determining whether the victim has the time and energy to spend on community issues. Some barriers to community involvement for victims are also identified. Victim activism recommendations are divided into recommendations for victim service programs and recommendations for government. Recommendations for victim service programs pertain to staff training, engaging crime victims in the leadership and guidance of the organization, the use of speakers' bureaus, and domestic violence training programs. Recommendations for government include engaging crime victims in policy decisions that affect them, requiring victim involvement as part of professional curricula in all disciplines that work with victims, and incorporating community involvement as a funding guideline. The appendix describes seven community-action programs that may be appropriate for victim involvement. 42 notes and 29 references

Date Published: January 1, 1998