Treatment Acceptability among Crime Victims

O. Semb1, *, P. Fransson2, M. Henningsson2, E. Sundbom1
Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umeå University Hospital, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden.
1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden
2 Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden

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© 2011 Semb et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umeå University Hospital, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden; Tel: 0046738471307; Fax: +46907856493; E-mail:


Crime victims receive relevant treatment too seldom and there is uncertainty as to whether those who need the treatment the most are among those who get it. Fifty-two consecutive adult crime victims were offered 10 sessions of psychotherapy within two weeks after an experienced trauma of criminal victimization. Twenty-six accepted and 26 declined the offer. The aim of the study was to explore some of the differences between these two groups. The results show that the therapy group presented a higher incidence of acute stress disorder, more negative scorings regarding immediate reactions (to the crime), more subjective ratings of physical and psychological health (GAF, according to DSM IV), and more psychiatric and trauma-related symptoms as compared to the non-therapy group. A conclusion was that those who needed treatment the most also accepted it. Traumatized people may, due to avoidant strategies, withdraw from potential treatment. Conversely, the therapy group scored higher on the coping style escape-avoidance.

Keywords: Crime victims, psychiatric symptoms, psychotherapy, coping, treatment acceptability.