The Effectiveness of Victim Services for Victims of Sexual Crimes

Joachim Obergfell-Fuchs, Max-Planck-Institute

In the last decades many western countries, e.g. Germany, built up a comprehensive system of victim services. Some of the services are based on governmental grants and compensations while others are provided by private institutions. Beside these services, many counselors, therapists, and self-help associations offer aid to victims of crimes. Despite the multitude of offers, not much is known about their effectiveness. The research project presented in this paper deals with the question of the effectiveness of victim services for victims of severe sexual crimes. Hundreds of victims who seeked help at the Weisse Ring, the largest private German victim service, and at a local information centre for rape victims were asked about their experiences with victim services, therapists, or self-help associations. The victims rated the effectiveness of these services on their psychological recovery process. These data are presented and analysed with regard to differential experiences with the police, with the judicial process, and with reactions of the social network.

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Updated 05/20/2006