The impact of criminal justice involvement on victims' mental health

J Trauma Stress. 2010 Apr;23(2):182-8. doi: 10.1002/jts.20505.


The aftermath of violent crime can leave victims with persistent emotional and mental health problems. Although research has shown the potential benefits of prosecuting cases through the courts, there is also a substantial literature that suggests that common features of the criminal justice system can exacerbate the impact of the initial crime, leading to a secondary victimization. The authors present a review of the research on the positive and negative impact of criminal justice involvement, and common points of failure in the efforts of justice institutions to meet the needs of victims. They conclude with recommendations for future work, including the need for research on restorative justice, victim impact statements, court notification systems, victim services, and victim advocates.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Crime Victims / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Criminal Law*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Law Enforcement*
  • United States