How to Help a Crime VictimVictim Services 561-297-0500
HOW TO HELP
- Listen Carefully. Spend time with the victim. Offer your assistance and a listening ear. Listen but do not pry. Listen with patience and without judgment.
- Reach out to victims. This may alleviate feelings of isolation.
- Reassure the victim that he/she is safe. Do whatever you can to increase physical safety.
- Allow him/her to talk, don’t relate your own experiences.
- Give the victim some private time, but take your cue from him or her.
- Don't ever tell a victim to get over it - victims do not get over what has happened, but she/he can learn to accommodate and/or accept it.
- Realize this experience can be life changing - It will always be a part of his/her history.
- Understand feelings are not right or wrong, they simply exist.
- Don't take anger or other feelings personally. Validate those feelings.
- Don't tell the victim that she/he is "lucky it wasn't worse." Most victims are not consoled by such statements. Instead, say that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand.
- Say "It's not your fault." Say it again.
- Crime creates a loss of control, return control to the victim by allowing him/her to make choices. Ask, don’t tell.
- Do not press the victim to report the crime. This decision should be made by the victim alone. Encourage the victim to get help. Help the victim find local resources.
- Provide her or him with options, NOT ADVICE.
- Avoid trying to "fix" anything. If you can simply listen and let the victim know that you care, you will have been profoundly helpful.
- Get help for yourself. Recognize that you cannot be responsible for the victim's healing process. Set boundaries - for yourself and in your interaction with the victim. Saying "no" is okay.