The impact of wrongful convictions on crime victims can be “comparable to — or even worse than — that of their original victimization,” according to a new study funded by the federal National Institute of Justice.
Researchers from ICF International conducted interviews with victims and other stakeholders involved in 11 cases of wrongful conviction for crimes including: rape, homicide, sexual assault, burglary, attempted homicide, and breaking and entering.
Victims reported experiencing feelings of guilt, fear, helplessness, devastation and depression, according to the study.
“For [several] years, I had been quite comfortable with my role as the victim,” one victim told researchers. “When the exoneration happened, that exoneree became the victim, and I, the rape victim, became the offender. The roles switch, and it’s a role you don’t know what to do with.”
Researchers recommend counseling services that include experts in trauma be provided for victims after wrongful convictions are revealed.
Read the full study HERE.