The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is one of the responding organizations that has operated in the USA since the second half of the 20th century. Being the oldest representative of its sphere in the whole country, NOVA is focused on the provision of assistance to those individuals who are affected by crimes and crises. The organization acts as an advocate for these people and ensures that they have access to all required resources. In addition to that, it pays much attention to training and education of professionals who assist victims, ensuring that they have well-developed professional core competencies. NOVA also promotes public policy initiatives in order to advocate for victims and protect them. This organization values care about people and does its best to maintain excellence in its work. It cooperates with numerous other organizations and individuals who have the same purpose. NOVA believes that it can change people’s lives for better if it continues assisting victims.
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The organization has its own Crisis Response Team (CRT) that is trained to provide required aid and education to those people who are affected by a critical incident. The team includes professionals from different spheres who have much experience in “Disaster Management, Debriefing, Victim Assistance, Victimology and Crisis Intervention” (Davis, 1998, para. 4). While performing its duties, CRT uses a tool that is known as Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD). This model is used when a critical incident takes place, which presupposes a sudden death, a serious injury, and a physical or psychological threat. NOVA personnel performs its duties in order to help victims of traumatic events, focusing on short-term crisis reactions.
They do their best to assist those people who face the cataclysms of emotion and fail to overcome it themselves. While some symptoms, such as rage or nightmares, can disappear with the course of time, others may turn into long-term crisis reactions that prevent people from living normal lives. Realizing it, CRT resorts to CISD to help individuals. In its framework, it uses debriefing to make victims overcome symptoms as they process the incident and reflect on the influence it made on them. CRT also uses defusing that provides victims with an opportunity to reveal their emotions and let them go. As a rule, both components of CISD are provided within a day or two after the traumatic event. Nevertheless, the whole technique includes seven points:
- Assessment. The impact of the traumatic event is to be evaluated.
- Safety and security. Associated issues are to be identified.
- Defusing. Ventilation and validation of emotions and thought are needed.
- Predicting. Professionals should consider what is likely to happen after the event and prepare a plan to respond.
- Systematic review. The impact of the incident on victims should be described.
- Closure. Ongoing assistance is to be provided.
- Recovery and re-entry. Professionals should help victims to return to the normal life (Davis, 1998).
The American Red Cross model (ARC Disaster Mental Health) is similar to CISD as it is used to assist those people who face traumatic events. Nevertheless, it is more focused on the disaster times, in particular (Robert, 2007). Both models provide mental health services and help survivors to cope with their emotions and thoughts so that they can re-enter their communities. Those individuals who are hired to provide associated services require training, according to the demands of both models. ARC Disaster Mental Health is focused on crisis counseling only, but CISD deals with the very treatment as well (Marbley, 2007). For instance, while ARC provides information and explains victims what are the influences of traumatic events and how they can be overcome, CISD ensures that professional help is provided for survivors to deal with their problems.
Moreover, unlike ARC, CISD considers not only psychological issues but also physical ones (Davis, 1998). Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that both models ensure that victims receive short- and long-term assistance, recognize their feelings and understand how to cope with them. It is also important to consider the fact that ARC works with volunteers more than CRT (Shelby & Tredinnick, 1995). In addition to that, it should be considered that in the majority of cases, ARC is used when working with those people who lost their friends or/and families in disasters while CISD is helpful when assisting those individuals who experienced incidents themselves and survived after them. Much attention is also often paid to the fact that CISD is mainly developed for the emergency service workers but not for the representatives of the general public (Davis, 1998). Moreover, the effectiveness of CISD as a mandatory intervention is often questioned while such problems are not associated with ARC.
When selecting a model for responding, aid counselors should pay much attention to the characteristics of victims and the event they deal with (McAdams III & Keener, 2008). It is significant for them to realize that children and adults, for instance, cannot always be treated in the same way. Moreover, adults are the ones who should provide support to kids, as peer assistance is often not enough (Smith & Sandhu, 2004). It is critical to use a different model for people who survived the incidence and for those who lost their relatives because their emotions have different triggers. In this way, it can be concluded that the selection of a model cannot be made only on the basis of its effectiveness revealed through research studies. First of all, it is to be appropriate for a particular population and situation.
Marbley, A. F. (2007). In the wake of Hurricane Katrina: Delivering crisis mental health services to host communities. Multicultural Education, 15(2), 17-23.
McAdams III, C., & Keener, H. (2008). Preparation, action, recovery: A conceptual framework for counselor preparation and response in client crises. Journal of Counseling and Development, 86(2), 388-398.
Robert, T. (2007). Stafford disaster relief and emergency assistance act, as amended, and related authorities. Web.
Shelby, J. S., & Tredinnick, M. G. (1995). Crisis intervention with survivors of natural disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Andrew. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73(5), 491-496.
Smith, D. C., & Sandhu, D. S. (2004). Toward a positive perspective on violence preventions in schools: Building connections. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82(3), 287-293.