Objective To construct a practical instrument for the identification and referral of crime victims who are at high risk for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Method: Crime victims filing a complaint at a police station were asked to fill out a questionnaire probing risk factors for PTSD (n=126). One and 3 months later, these victims filled out a self-report version of the PTSD Symptom Scale (PSS-SR).
Results: The combination of four items predicted persistent PTSD with a sensitivity of 1.00 and a specificity of 0.62. The items were: being victims of a violent crime, knowing the perpetrator, experiencing the results of the crime as worse than was expected, and blaming oneself for the event. Only 25% of PTSD cases received emotional support from a victim assistance organization.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that early detection of high-risk victims and their referral to treatment is both necessary and possible.