The effects of crime
How crime can affect people
Being a victim of crime can lead to all kinds of problems, some of which can be very hard to deal with. You may find that you are shocked and confused by how emotional you feel. And if you report the crime, a police investigation and a court case can add to the strain you may already be feeling.
Everyone reacts differently to crime; your reaction and recovery can be affected by your personality, how others treat you, and even other things that have happened in your life. Whether or not you receive support after the offence can also make a difference, as can the type of crime and whether or not you know the offender. One person may cope well with a crime that somebody else would consider to be devastating; equally another person may struggle to deal with a crime that others think is relatively minor.
Although most victims do not suffer long-term harm, both adults and children may be deeply affected and have a very strong emotional reaction. Many victims have said that felt shock, upset, fear, anger, guilt or depression, but everyone does respond differently. A small number of people may experience a more severe, long-lasting reaction after a traumatic experience, which is sometimes described as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Reducing the effects
People who have suffered a crime generally find it extremely helpful to talk to someone about how they feel. Victim Support volunteers are specially trained to listen and to give you useful information and assistance. We don't describe our work as 'counselling', but there are some similarities in what we do.
Our volunteers are also trained to recognise if you may be in need of more specialist help and can refer you to other, more suitable organisations. They can also provide practical information and advice, for example, about replacing or repairing property, claiming compensation, and crime prevention. And they can work alongside you to guide you through criminal justice and other procedures or accompany you on visits to places such as the police station or hospital.