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Postinjury Engagement With the Police and Access to Care Among Victims of Violent Street Crime: Does Criminal History Matter?

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Dated: 2020
Date Published

This study examined whether victims of violent street crimes who are known to the police as past offenders, when compared with victims with no arrest history, have different outcomes related to receipt of victim and health-related services, while taking into consideration whether police responded to the victimization incident.


The sample was comprised of 103 men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 living in one Mid-Atlantic city who were victims of street violence within the year before study recruitment. Logistic regression was used to assess the impact of police response to the victimization incident on receipt of victim services, and receipt of victim services on engagement with counseling and mental health services. The results show that prior arrests were not associated with receipt of services;  however, having police officers respond to the victimization was associated with higher odds of receiving victim services, and in turn, victim services were associated with receiving mental health treatment. Police response appears to set victims on a path to accessing services. Although the number of arrests was not associated with service receipt, a small percentage of victims who did not receive services stated they were reluctant to cooperate with the police, thus limiting their opportunity for victim services. Because most victims who did not access victim services did not know that they existed, policies that promote more knowledge of and initial engagement with victim services could improve access to needed health and mental health services. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020