Participant Demographics

One hundred eighty-six physically injured crime victims receiving services from the Medical University of South Carolina provided data for this report. Some participants were unable to complete the entire survey, and provided incomplete data. Of these, 23 were women and 163 were men. Approximately 70 percent were African-American, 25 percent were Caucasian, and 5 percent were Hispanic. Fifteen percent were married, 10 percent were separated or divorced, 57 percent were single, and the remaining 18 percent failed to provide marital information.

Injuries Experienced

Crime types ranged widely, as did injury types, and several individuals reported more than one form of injury. All 186 participants reported, or had someone report, the crime to the police. Many individuals (36 percent) were unable to provide information on the type of crime and injury, probably due to the severity of their injuries and loss of consciousness during the assault. Participants experienced gunshots, stabbings, and other forms of aggravated assault. The following categories are not mutually exclusive: 16 percent presented with knife wounds, 33 percent had been shot, 11.3 percent had broken bones or lost teeth, 25 percent suffered internal injuries, 11percent had head injuries, 5 percent lost consciousness, and 18 percent were badly bruised or cut. About half had been victims of interpersonal violence prior to this incident. Of the victims surveyed, 83 percent thought that they were going to be seriously injured, and 59 percent reported that they thought they were going to die during the incident. Clearly, this is a group of people who had been thoroughly victimized and severely injured.

Criminal Justice System Activities

As mentioned previously, all 186 of the survey participants reported, or had someone report, the crime to police; 33 percent indicated that approximately 2 to 4days after the crime, the assailant had been apprehended. Fully 48 percent of victims recognized the assailant, meaning that they had seen the assailant before at some point in their lives. Of the group of assailants, 23 percent were acquaintances of their victims, 18 percent were relatives or boyfriends, and the rest were strangers. Fully 90 percent of offenders were male, and 90 percent used a weapon of some sort to commit the crime.

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A Multimedia Program To Improve Criminal Justice System Participation and Reduce Distress Among Physically Injured Crime Victims
April 2006