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WEISSER RING demands more psychotherapists for crime victims

Health insurance companies should license more psychotherapists to make therapy more quickly available for victims so that they can be helped in a more efficient way.

This is a request from WEISSER RING on the occasion of the “Tag der Kriminalitätsopfer” on March 22nd. “In the aftermath of a crime a victim does not only suffer physically, but also faces extreme mental stress,” says Roswitha Müller-Piepenkötter, National Chair of WEISSER RING. “The longer crime victims have to wait for a therapy place, the more hopelessness and helplessness they feel. This is not acceptable.” Health insurance companies should start to take countermeasures by licensing more therapists, according to Müller-Piepenkötter.

WEISSER RING demands that health insurance companies adjust their requirement planning system, on which the admission rate of therapists is based. An acceptable waiting period of a maximum of five weeks should be set. By appointing more therapists a shorter waiting time could be realized.

According to a study published in “BPTK-spezial: Bedarfsplanung 2013 – ein Überblick”, about a third of all clients waits longer than three month for their first psychotherapeutic consultation. Many of these clients then still cannot begin the therapy right away.  The study also states that the shortage of therapeutic treatment is by far more serious in rural regions compared to the accessibility of treatment in cities. The care situation is already very bad even for those people who have not yet fallen victim of crime, says Müller-Piepenkötter. For crime victims the situation is tragic. “It is the victims who have to cope with intense states of anxiety, self-doubt and huge insecurity. And these are the people whom a quick start of the therapy could help to escape desperation.”

Trauma therapy offers a good possibility to take care of crime victims. The frequency of trauma induced consequences such as permanent re-experiencing the traumatic event could be efficiently reduced. WEISSER RING requests health insurance companies to take into account trauma therapeutic methods, regarding the psychotherapy guidelines more strictly than up to now. “In this way, trauma therapeutic methods would be used more often”, says Müller-Piepenkötter.

But therapists, too, could do much to meet crime victims’ needs better, the chair woman emphasizes. For example, they might include trauma therapy in their professional development and training programs.

The 3.200 professionally trained volunteer support workers of WEISSER RING have specific knowledge of the local psychotherapeutic care situation. Their support may include a service voucher for a psycho-traumatological first counselling, cooperation with trauma emergency units on-site or support to gain access to longer-term therapeutic care.

The „Tag der Kriminalitätsopfer” serves to remind us of people who have fallen victim to crime through no fault of their own. In accordance with this year’s motto “Opfer brauchen Profis” many activities were organized nationwide. WEISSER RING’s volunteers provided information about their work and about Germany’s largest victim support organization. Since the organization’s founding in 1976, in over 360,300 cases financial aid was granted. A total of 208 million euros were spent on victim support (both figures from December 2016). In countless hours support and consolation were offered to crime victims in need.