Summary: Cohen JA, Berliner L, and Mannarino AP. "Psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for child crime victims," Journal of Traumatic Stress vol 16(2): 175-186. 2003.

This article reviews research on treatments for children who have been the victims of crime. Most of the research done in this area focuses on treatment of children who have been victimized by a specific type of crime-sexual assault, for example-or have a specific diagnosis, such at posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.

The authors first define the different psychosocial treatments that have been used and review the evidence for their use. Psychoeducation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy, and family therapy are some of the techniques described. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the treatment method that has the most evidence of working in this population. Especially when both parents and children are treated, it is a promising technique. In contrast, there is less evidence to support the use of drugs in treatment, except selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for the treatment of PTSD.

After discussing the implications of treating diverse populations, the authors offer a list of recommendations for screening and treating children who have been traumatized by crime.