Victim services in Maryland and throughout the country have historically focused on the immediate needs of crime victims including their physical, emotional and financial needs. But until recently, we have neglected the spiritual needs of crime victims. It is natural and may be even healthy for a person who has suffered trauma as a result of crime to respond by questioning their faith traditions.
In a study conducted by the Greenberg Quinlan Research Group (2000), a random sample of 1000 people responded as follows: 83% believed their spiritual faith and religious beliefs were closely related to their state of mental and emotional health, and more preferred to speak with a pastor or person with religious training over a professional mental health counselor. Futhermore, in another study, among African-American respondents, 97% said emotional and mental health was closely tied to spirituality. [Woodruff, C. Roy, “New National Survey Affirms Desire for Pastoral Counseling,” Currents, 39,2 (Spring 2001); 21,2.] Because of the often life altering experience suffered by crime victims, it is important to address all of their needs including those of a spiritual nature.