Helping Aged Victims of Crime (the HAVoC Study): Common Crime, Older People and Mental Illness.

Serfaty, M; Ridgewell, A; Drennan, V; Kessel, A; Brewin, CR; Leavey, G; Wright, A; Laycock, G; Blanchard, M; (2015) Helping Aged Victims of Crime (the HAVoC Study): Common Crime, Older People and Mental Illness. Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy, 44 (2). pp. 140-55. ISSN 1352-4658 DOI:

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BACKGOUND: Limited data suggest that crime may have a devastating impact on older people. Although identification and treatment may be beneficial, no well-designed studies have investigated the prevalence of mental disorder and the potential benefits of individual manualized CBT in older victims of crime.<br/> AIMS: To identify mental health problems in older victims of common crime, provide preliminary data on its prevalence, and conduct a feasibility randomized controlled trial (RCT) using mixed methods.<br/> METHOD: Older victims, identified through police teams, were screened for symptoms of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) one (n = 581) and 3 months (n = 486) after experiencing a crime. Screen positive participants were offered diagnostic interviews. Of these, 26 participants with DSM-IV diagnoses agreed to be randomized to Treatment As Usual (TAU) or TAU plus our manualized CBT informed Victim Improvement Package (VIP). The latter provided feedback on the VIP.<br/> RESULTS: Recruitment, assessment and intervention are feasible and acceptable. At 3 months 120/486 screened as cases, 33 had DSM-IV criteria for a psychiatric disorder; 26 agreed to be randomized to a pilot trial. There were trends in favour of the VIP in all measures except PTSD at 6 months post crime.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: This feasibility RCT is the first step towards improving the lives of older victims of common crime. Without intervention, distress at 3 and 6 months after a crime remains high. However, the well-received VIP appeared promising for depressive and anxiety symptoms, but possibly not posttraumatic stress disorder.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
PubMed ID: 25602290
Web of Science ID: 370857000002


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