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University Police

How to Help a Crime Victim

Victim 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.

 Last Modified 7/14/14