This presentation will describe research conducted in 1998-1999 on victims of mentally ill offenders. The research was conducted with four focus groups in different locations in the United States. Participants included members of the mental health, victims assistance, law enforcement, criminal justice communities, families of the mentally ill,and families of victims themselves. A major finding was that victims of mentally ill offenders are much more likely to be family members, not strangers. Often the attention of the media focuses on "stranger" victims, continuing to promote the image of the "violent mentally ill" person.Family members are often reluctant to report victimization and to seek assistance from the criminal justice or mental health systems. This is often related to feelings of guilt and shame, and to the stigma felt within the family of having a mentally ill relative. Additional barriers to service include that members of the constituency groups know little about each other and about services that could be provided. Among the recommendations as a result of the study are that there is a need for training of each constituency group in order to develop collaborative intervention strategies for the victim as well as for the offender. A video and training brochures are being produced as part of the project.
Learning Objectives: The presenter will describe research about victims of mentally ill offenders and issues for the victims. These include the articulation of victim status, knowing where and how to turn for help and training issues for mental health, victims assistance, criminal justice staff and for families
Keywords: Criminal Justice, Special Populations
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The Ehrenkranz School of Social Work, Institute Against Violence research project on Victims of Mentally Ill Offenders, funded by the Office for Victims of Crime (NIJ)
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA