DefinitionThe expression «robbery» refers to business robbery with and without weapons, which may affect groups or individuals (banks, shops, kiosks), and can be anything from threat of violence to actual violence, injury and, at worst, murder. The degree of traumatisation and the nature of the incident will determine the type and extent of monitoring.
1. THE MOBILISATION PHASE
Objectives: To gain knowledge of and ensure contact with all those in need of psychosocial follow-up after a robbery, and to coordinate those responsible for the help they are supposed to give. Those who might be in need of this help can be the employees in a bank, a shop, a kiosk etc. – or groups that have been robbed at home, or somewhere else. This may also include random spectators, the emergency squad, and other affected people. Measures: The objectives are gained through clear written routines on how to offer victims of robbery contact with a crisis team, or through the work place’s own follow-up team.
- It would be natural to alert the police after a robbery. If the police is represented in the municipality’s crisis team, it might be good if this police representative would be responsible for notifying the team. Other possible notification alternatives could be through the employer or doctor/other health personnel if there were any personal injuries.
- Those affected should be asked for permission to alert the crisis team.
- The representative for the crisis team should make contact to offer assistance, to individuals or to the institution that have been robbed (i.e. a bank, a kiosk etc.) If the institution/the business that have been robbed already has a plan for follow-up of those affected, the crisis team will only have a consulting role.
2. THE EMERGENCY PHASE
Objectives: To calm the situation and limit the experience of loss of control by reducing stress, to make acute reactions possible to control, and to re-establish a certain order and structure, so that, in the long run, the affected people can regain and reassume earlier functions. To gain information about which people will need further follow-up.
Measures: The objectives can be reached through clear written routines for emotional first aid and caretaking, information and counselling, mobilisation of social network support and possibly organising practical or legal help.
Coordination and responsibilities:
- Members of the crisis team will be assigned tasks regarding gaining an overview of the follow-up. The extent of the involvement of the municipality’s crisis team after a robbery will depend on how traumatised the involved people were, and how many they are. Businesses with a high degree of robbery potential may have their own routines for follow-up, and their own plans for employees, and these may involve professional follow-up. It is important to plan and coordinate the team’s work according to this.
- The crisis team can, when making the plan, try to establish a cooperation with the local psychiatry services regarding follow-up after acute violent events, to ensure that victims of violence don’t have to wait in a regular cue before follow-up. It is also possible to establish an agreement about guidance for the municipality’s professionals for emotional first aid and debriefing.
- Direct intervention by way of emotional first aid, support talks, practical help.
- Indirect intervention by way of providing advice and consultation to workplace or school.
Measures for the directly affected (suggestions):
- Help with contacting family and/or friends, making sure no one goes home to an empty home.
- Information about the course of events, investigation and arresting suspects. The police is responsible for this, but they may pass information on to the crisis team.
- Systematic review of the course of events ("defusing") the same day (see Measures). It is important to not encourage talking about the emotional aspects of the incident the same day as it occurred, because this can reinforce the memories of the incident. For the same reason, sleeping within the first six hours after the incident should be avoided.
- Offering debriefing during the first days after. Responsible: Skilled personnel trained and experienced in debriefing (see Measures). If the municipality doesn't have access to such personnel, they may issue referrals to specialist health care (if there are personnel with such skills there). In such situations, responsibilities should be coordinated with the local outpatient clinic to ensure that the referred persons are prioritised.
- Trauma specific survey of the involved parties to determine the needs for individual follow-up by specialist health care (see Reactions).
- Information about common trauma reactions and advice on how they can be dealt with and prevented, and about where one may seek help. Information about further follow-up services (see Reactions, and www.krisepsyk.no > Theme pages – self-help methods). Responsible: Municipal health care personnel.
- If case of fatalities among colleagues, one might follow the routines of wake, memorial service and a ceremony at the workplace (see Rituals).
- It is important to consider the ongoing investigation, and that interrogations have priority over debriefing and other support measures.
- Mobilising support from network.
- Mobilising support from the leadership of the company/organisation.
Measures for witnesses and indirectly affected persons (suggestions):
- Information meeting for affected persons – if, for example, many bystanders that have been exposed to traumatizing events, they may be invited to a separate information meeting. Responsible: police and crisis team. The meeting could contain:
- Information about the chain of events and the investigation.
- Information about normal reactions and how these can be dampened.
- Information about where to seek help and the necessary criteria.
Measures for next-of-kin and those left behind (suggestions):
- Information about the chain of events and the investigation.
- Individual support talks and counselling.
- Offering legal and economical advice.
- Advice on how to give information, support and follow-up to children left behind.
- Direct follow-up of children left behind.
- Offering contact to other people left behind.
- Offering active sick note, reduced position, and adaptation of work situation.
- Practical help, like relieving them of childcare and other caretaking.Time frame and transfer to further follow-up:
- The acute phase is defined as the first week after the robbery.
- After the acute phase, one should assess the need for further follow-up. Some further measures would already be planned, like further debriefing and information meetings.
- One person from the crisis team may be assigned with keeping in contact with other departments, and check if it is necessary to follow up someone who already have been followed up by other authorities than the municipality. However, common robberies seldom require extensive and prolonged follow-up. Most people's situations are normalised during the first few weeks.
3. FURTHER FOLLOW-UP
Objectives: Follow up people affected by the robbery and help them gradually resume their everyday life. Prevent traumatic experiences from getting a foothold as long-term psychological or physical damage.Measures: Objectives are achieved through clearly written routines and through making regular contact with the affected to assess the needs for further follow-up, examinations and health care.
Coordination and responsibilities:It may be a good idea to have whoever was responsible for the acute measures also assume responsibility for further follow-up – for example municipal psychologist, psychiatric nurse, community nurse. It is important that someone from the crisis team is responsible for making sure that further follow-up and referral actually happens. A member of the crisis team should be responsible for coordinating municipal measures with measures instigated by private organizations or specialist health care.
- Directly, through support talks and practical help.
- Indirectly, through advice and counselling, for example to schools and workplaces.
Measures for survivors (suggestion):
- Follow-up debriefing, if necessary, 4–6 weeks after the first consultation.
- Surveying whether everyone gets the follow-up they need, or if someone needs referral to specialist health care (see Mapping).
- Follow-up through support talks focusing on how to reduce unpleasant symptoms, handle everyday life and function socially.
- Offering or referring to family counselling and couples therapy if the incident has a negative impact on family life.
- Offering economical and legal advice.
- Offering active sick note, or adaptation of work situation.
Measures for next-of-kin (suggestions):If the robbery leads to fatality, see our guidelines for Murder.
Time frame (suggestion):
- Direct intervention the first month, further follow-up if necessary.
- Keep in touch and keep an eye on how needs change during the first year.
Criteria for termination of contact (suggestion):
The affected should feel that they could partake in everyday life and leisure time without having the reactions from the robbery hindering their participation and self-expression.