Taking Charge: Crisis Intervention in Criminal Justice

By Anne T. Romano | Go to book overview
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INTRODUCTION

During the past several years, social scientists and mental health practitioners have been studying the effects of crises on individuals, families, and communities. There seems to be an increasing public awareness of and support for specially victimized groups in crisis (e.g., battered women or victims of sexual assault or other crimes, disabling diseases, or natural disasters), and to develop programs dealing with uncontrollable events that come with advancing age (e.g., the "empty nest syndrome," mid-life crisis, retirement, relocation, or unemployment). There also seems to be a general understanding that it is "O.K." to have problems with changes in life that precipitate crisis. Seeking help for crisis reactions is increasingly viewed as a part of the normal life experience and is to a lesser degree than ever associated with the stigma of mental illness.

These changes in popular attitudes have been accompanied by increasing recognition within the criminal justice community of regularly occurring transitory crisis reactions, as well as crisis reactions to castastrophe, disaster, accidents, and to the violence associated with victimization. It has become clear that exposure to stressful life events that strain an individual's coping capability has negative consequences both psychologically and physically. Research studies have indicated that the degree to which someone is exposed to changes in life events is associated with the occurrence of the onset of accidents and major illnesses as well as a range of more minor medical complaints. Given the debilitating effects of exposure to stress and crises, crisis intervention training has become essential for professionals in all fields. However, the term crisis intervention represents varied strategies and evokes

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