Crime victim compensation helps fund teen healing

Shelterwood walks beside families in their darkest moments, including when teenagers and their families are struggling to recover from a traumatizing crime. 

LaTisha Robinson is a residential therapist with extensive experience helping victimized young people process, grieve and heal. The majority of the teens LaTisha works with have experienced some kind of sexual trauma, and most have also turned to substance abuse to deal with the pain. 

Fortunately, every state (plus D.C., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) has a crime victim compensation benefits program that can help cover victims’ mental health counseling costs, including residential treatment. Each state has different maximums and different limits on types of benefits. For example, in Missouri, crime victims can apply for a maximum award of $25,000. Mental health counseling expenses are eligible with no limit, as long as they aren’t covered by other sources, like insurance. Shelterwood admissions counselors can help parents and caregivers explore their state’s benefit options and processes. 

“Finding resources like insurance and victim compensation can really help struggling teens who need some intensive work in a residential setting,” says LaTisha, because the issues young crime victims deal with are intense and complicated. 

“We notice really exacerbated types of symptoms: Grandiose thinking, escalated use of vulgar language, lots of sexual talk,” LaTisha shares. “They feel like they’ve lost their innocence, so why care anymore.” 

Traumatized teens may self-harm or self-mutilate and deal with depression and anxiety. They may constantly relive the attack, either consciously or subconsciously in dreams. They may feel guilt or shame for freezing during the attack and be afraid that they won’t be able to protect themselves if it happens again. 

Crimes put a huge deal of stress on the family system as well. Victims’ parents may want to support them but not know how. Some parents over-focus on “justice being served” for their child and not pay enough attention to what the young person says he or she needs. And some parents simply don’t know the truth—or didn’t until very recently—about what their child went through.

LaTisha says her patients are usually relieved to be in a safe place when they arrive at Shelterwood. Residential treatment lets teams monitor all the interconnected aspects of healing. 

“The residential setting allows us to have way more eyes on one particular student, so we can give comprehensive care,” LaTisha says. “Everything is related to their treatment: What they eat, what they don’t eat, what they are drinking, how active are they, are they sleeping, are they engaged in school or distracted, are they having surface-level processing in therapy…it’s all connected, and we all work as a treatment team to get them to their treatment goals.”

Shelterwood can also play a vital role when the case against the teen’s attacker is ongoing. This year LaTisha was able to provide therapeutic support for one of her clients as he testified at trial. 

“Shelterwood really intervened to help that kid through that hard time,” LaTisha explains. Because of the circumstances of the trial, he had to stay by himself and wasn’t able to talk with other family members. “I think it would have unraveled him, if he had to do that alone.”

She’s happy to report that the student graduated from Shelterwood’s program a few months ago, is back home, and doing well. 

In addition to holistic care and specialized support, Shelterwood can also give hurting teens spiritual guidance, if and when they are ready for it. LaTisha says most of her clients come into the program very angry with God. Shelterwood gives them the space and time to explore and challenge their beliefs. 

“We very much believe in holistic care and incorporating that faith-based component,” LaTisha says. “We believe we can do the work, but the Lord changes the heart, so we provide those opportunities for heart change.” 

Do you know a teen who needs help healing from a traumatic crime? Call one of our admissions counselors today to hear how Shelterwood can help. 

 

Posted in Anxiety and Depression, Parenting Resources, Services, Treatments