Which juvenile crime victims get mental health treatment?
Objective: To explore factors that facilitate the receipt of mental health treatment among juvenile crime victims.
Method: Telephone interviews were conducted with a national sample of 157 caretakers whose children had suffered a serious sexual or physical assault in the previous year.
Results: Twenty-two percent of caretakers had thought about getting professional counseling for their child victims, and 20% of the child victims actually received it. But half of the families who thought about it did not follow through on their consideration. Moreover, nearly half of those victimized children who actually received counseling did so without their families reporting that they had considered it in advance. The level of symptoms and parent-child relationship factors were related to considering counseling which was in turn strongly related to actually getting counseling. Other factors were independently related to receiving counseling, such as the victimization occurring at school and the victim being perceived as at fault to some degree. Advice to get counseling and medical insurance also played roles.
Conclusions: These findings suggested two pathways to counseling. One occurred via direct parental concern, and was associated with such variables as parental perceptions that the child was depressed or withdrawn or that the parent-child relationship had been negatively affected. The other pathway occurred independent of parental concern, most likely via school interventions, because this counseling was in conjunction with school victimizations.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Kopiec, K., Finkelhor, D., Wolak, J. Which juvenile crime victims get mental health treatment? (2004) Child Abuse and Neglect, 28 (1), pp. 45-59.