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About This E-PublicationAcknowledgmentsMessage From the DirectorAbout the AuthorsRelated Links
The Need for Collaboration
Victim Needs From a Faith-Based Perspective
The Effects of Victimization on Faith
The Victim Experience of Trauma and Bereavement
Vicarious Trauma
  Risk Factors
  Prevention and Response
Elements of Collaboration
Lessons Learned
Issues Unique to Faith-Based Victim Assistance
Supplementary Materials
Faith Based Victim Assistance Organizations

Victim Needs From a Faith-Based Perspective

The church should be a place of refuge, but often we have not known how to listen, how to be present to victims. We have told them that their anger is wrong, that they need to move on, to forgive, to forget. We have denied them their right to mourn and instead have laid new burdens on them. All this is understandable—as part of our effort to distance ourselves from pain and vulnerability—but not at all helpful.

—Howard Zehr, "Restoring Justice," God and the Victim, 1999

Victimization often makes orderly lives disorderly, thereby drawing victims into faith-based settings where they hope to find reasons for their pain. It is important that clergy who work with victims understand these unique emotional needs. Specifically, faith communities can help crime victims by—

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