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A Multimedia Program To Improve Criminal Justice System Participation and Reduce Distress Among Physically Injured Crime Victims

April 2006
Connie L. Best, Ronald E. Acierno, and Heidi S. Resnick


Message From the Director

Emotional distress and lack of knowledge and information can cause victims of violent crime to avoid participation in the criminal justice system.

A DVD and accompanying brochure detailing victims' rights, clarifying processes of the criminal justice system, and providing guidance on dealing with common psychological effects of violent crime were shown to several injured crime victims while they were hospitalized. The victims then completed a survey.

The surveyed victims represented a variety of demographic groups, and the crimes they encountered and injuries they sustained ranged widely.

Results: Video and Nonvideo Participants
The crime victims who viewed the DVD and brochure (video participants) reported a greater understanding of their legal rights, emotional effects of violent crime and strategies to address them, and the criminal justice process than did crime victims who had not viewed the DVD and brochure (nonvideo participants).

Implications and Applications
The DVD was designed to help individuals understand and navigate the criminal justice system, and to increase individuals' knowledge about common psychological responses to crime and strategies to reduce their negative effects. The materials were designed for use in the trauma and surgical inpatient setting of a hospital where patients have acute injuries, but may also be useful in outpatient emergency rooms, other hospital-based clinics, physical therapy facilities, rehabilitation centers, or primary care offices and clinics.

For More Information



About the Authors

This product is also available in Spanish.

This project was prepared by the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina under grant number 1998-VF-GX-0006, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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