n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Debriefing victims of crime - the role of the criminologist

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Much has been said about and written on the need and necessity for and value of support services for victims of crime. The need to support the victims of crime springs from the experience of crime as a crisis period and the period immediately following on a crime as traumatic. The reactions to trauma are as universal as the exposure to it. Crisis intervention is designed to prevent or reduce the harm that traumatic events may potentially cause. Debriefing is a form of first-contact support. This article will highlight the role of the criminologist by identifying basic guidelines for interacting with crime victims in the immediate and protracted period of time following victimisation. This article also argues that the criminologist could be the first line of intervention in instances of crime-victim traumatisation due to the specific knowledge and skills criminology affords it scholars. In this sense of the word, the criminologist can ensure a faster throughput of traumatised crime victims, because they can assist in cases where intervention by social workers or clinical psychologists or psychiatrists is not really necessary.


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