Int Emerg Nurs. 2011 Jan;19(1):20-6.
The focus of this research study was to ascertain the impact of crime on individuals, who presented with an injury to the emergency department. Given the high prevalence of crime in our society today, victims of crime are identified as a growing patient population seeking help in emergency departments. To maximise holistic care for these patients it is important that healthcare professionals gain insight into the experience of being a victim of crime. The study was qualitative in nature and used a phenomenological approach. In-depth, unstructured audio taped interviews were conducted to elicit the essence of the experience of being a victim of crime.The voices of the victims revealed four themes; “Fear, Shock and Disbelief”, “Guilt/Self-blame”, “Physical and Psychological Scars” and “Lifestyle Changes”. The management of victims of crime in the emergency department appears to be concerned exclusively with physical injuries. Unseen is the potential psychological sequelae of the assault. Pivotal to these findings is the absence of psychological follow-up support for these victims of crime. This study affords healthcare professionals working in the emergency department, the opportunity to reflect upon current practice and highlight the value of their role in the provision of optimal care for this patient population.