Crisis management: the spiritual aspects of victim recovery in serious crime

Irene Afful, Alex Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore crisis management in terms of the spiritual aspects of victim recovery. The paper focuses, in particular, on victims of serious crime. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the available literature on crisis management, serious crime, spirituality and pastoral support to determine their impact on trauma recovery. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with a number of police chaplains and a hospital chaplain, in addition to police family liaison officers and witness care officers, who have in-depth involvement with victims of serious crime, to explore the support available and identify gaps against existing theory. Findings – Spiritual/pastoral support is available to police officers in the form of police chaplains. Their support is reported to be valuable in the crisis recovery process. Hospital patients report such support as integral to mental and emotional well-being and recovery. Victims of serious crime are not offered such pastoral services through the criminal justice system, though other more practical needs are provided for. This gap could have implications for the effectiveness of the criminal justice process. Research limitations/implications – The research is an exploratory study and seeks to open up debate in this arena. The research is localised to a specific region and may not generalise nationally/internationally. Practical implications – The paper evaluates the role and import of spiritual support in trauma recovery, makes a number of recommendations to plug the gap in current provision to victims of serious crime and suggests directions for further research in this area. Social implications – There are limited social implications. Originality/value – There has been very limited research conducted in this specific area and this paper seeks to redress this gap and suggests opportunities for further research to enhance victim crisis recovery and participation in the criminal justice process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-64
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Services
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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