Random House defines crisis as "a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person's life" and "a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or worse, is determined; a turning point."(3)
A wide range of human emotions and behaviors can accompany crisis, particularly when the crisis relates to victimization. People react differently to stress and crisis, particularly when the crisis relates to victimization. People react differently to stress and crisis situations based on their own skills or behaviors, abilities to cope, maturation levels, and personalities. For some, a crisis situation may be coupled with changes in behavior such as sleeplessness or over-eating. For others, a crisis may include denial, disbelief, and the inability to cope. Still others may experience physiological changes such as an increase in their heart rate, sweating, or fainting.
The importance of crisis intervention for victim of crime is paramount. The goal of crisis intervention is to help victims confront the reality of what happened, begin to deal with the crisis, and to go beyond the pain and emotional trauma toward new strength and opportunities for growth and change. Victims may include those who were the target of the victimization, as well as others affected by the crime such as parents, spouses, friends, or witnesses. The challenge for crisis intervention programs is to provide effective crisis support and assistance as soon as possible following victimization, and to make available resources and services to meet the needs of victims by providing direct assistance or referrals to other agencies.