Monday, April 21, 2008

South Africa takes look at trauma debriefing for victims of crime

Crime victims 'should seek trauma debriefing'

April 22 2008 at 02:24PM

By Thandi Skade

The trauma of surviving or witnessing a hijacking, armed robbery, smash-and-grab or any other violent crime is a phenomenon that affects thousands of South Africans daily.

"No matter how big or small the incident was, whether an armed or unarmed robbery, housebreaking, smash-and-grab or hijacking, your body and mind react to the thought that you or someone else was going to die," says Robyn Farrell, director of 1st for Women Insurance Brokers.

"No one is immune to trauma and there is no telling how you will react until you have lived through a traumatic ordeal.

'There is no telling how you will react until you have lived through a traumatic ordeal'

That's why Farrell advises people who've experienced a traumatic ordeal to seek immediate trauma debriefing as a short-term way to minimise the chances of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an immediate or delayed response to a traumatic event.

Trauma debriefing is best initiated between 24 and 72 hours after the event to assist the victim come to terms with what has happened and process the negative feelings or behaviour he or she may be displaying.

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Now maybe you know why I feel as if I am screaming in an empty room. How long did we have to know this works before we do it?

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