Helping aged victims of crime (the HAVoC study): common crime, older people and mental illness.

Serfaty, Marc, Ridgewell, Anna, Drennan, Vari, Kessel, Anthony, Brewin, Chris R., Leavey, Gerard, Wright, Anwen, Laycock, Gloria and Blanchard, Martin (2016) Helping aged victims of crime (the HAVoC study): common crime, older people and mental illness. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 44(2), pp. 140-155. ISSN (print) 1352-4658


Background: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page