How individuals react to being the victim of a crime varies from person to person. Reactions are affected by the following:
- How the victim handles stress.
- The nature and duration of the crime.
- The physical safety of the victim.
- The number and type of support systems available.
These reactions can be intensified by the victim being in unfamiliar surroundings, not speaking the local language, or being far from normal support systems. Even if victim assistance is available abroad, the victim advocates might not have crisis intervention training or experience in scheduling and conducting support groups.
U.S.-based victim service providers should do the following:
- Listen attentively, without judgment, to the victim's account of the crime. Victims need to express their emotions and tell their story about the crime and the trauma they experienced.
- Prepare victims for the reactions and feelings that might come days or weeks after the crime has occurred.
- Coordinate ongoing or long-term psychological care or counseling to help victims deal with the complex feelings and stages of grief that often follow the trauma of victimization.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Psychological Association
(Information on posttraumatic stress disorder)
Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Managing Anxiety in Times of Crisis
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Mental Health America