Virtual reality interventions for victims of crime: A systematic review

Giovanna Parmigiani*, Leda Tortora, Gerben Meynen, Gabriele Mandarelli, Stefano Ferracuti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the forensic field, most studies employing virtual reality (VR) interventions have focused on offenders. The validity and safety of VR applications for victims of crime are still unclear. Following PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review on VR interventions for crime victims was performed to assess the efficacy, acceptability by patients, and cost-effectiveness of these interventions compared to in-person care. We identified 34 potentially eligible studies from 188 records obtained from database searches (Medline/Pubmed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Scopus); four additional articles were identified via alternative sources. In total, nine articles were included for the qualitative synthesis. Patient satisfaction with VR interventions was found to be equivalent to face-to-face interventions. Both VR exposure and control groups found relief from posttraumatic symptoms, with differences either statistically insignificant or in favor of VR. Despite the increased costs linked to the technology required, VR appears to be a promising alternative to in vivo exposure, but further research is needed. Limitations of the review include the varied experimental protocols, which did not allow us to conduct a quantitative analysis and comparison of findings across different studies, and the generally poor quality of the studies included. Further research, preferably in larger groups, is needed to shed more light on the effectiveness of VR interventions for traumatized victims of crime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-812
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number3
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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