If you or someone you love has fallen victim to a crime, the events following the incident can often be a whirlwind. Though each case comes with its specific set of challenges, dealing with a crime of any kind is often distressing and challenging to navigate.
Regardless of the circumstances, calling first responders should be the first plan of action, allowing operators to report the crime and deploy aid if needed. However, the following steps vary based on the offense and victim’s situation.
Work with professionals
Professionals like medical providers, law enforcement officers, lawyers, and therapists can help crime victims recover from the experience. Additionally, some crimes require assistance from experts like ECS & Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup.
Ultimately, calling upon professionals can help victims cope with the experience and return to their everyday life.
Find time to grieve
Crime victims often need time to grieve and process any lingering emotional turmoil. Fortunately, support groups and therapists can help victims walk through their feelings, allowing them to come closer to closure after the trauma.
Victims often feel angry, sad, scared, or embarrassed. Though your natural urge may be to fight the arising emotions, feeling your way through the pain without judgment is key to healing.
Re-establish your routine
The best way to return to normalcy is to get back to your routine and practice self-care. Though your routine might feel like a distraction at first, your body and mind will eventually accept it for what it is.
Avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol
The desire to forget the situation might inspire you to self-medicate, but doing so will only worsen the situation. Unfortunately, trauma increases the risk of addiction, which could lead to a dangerous dependency.
Though drugs and alcohol may temporarily numb the pain, falling victim to addiction only worsens your distress.
Take your time with all tasks
Rather than rushing through tasks (even routine ones like loading the dishwasher), slow down and pay attention to what you’re doing. After a crime, many people become distracted by the memories of the event. To combat unwanted memories, give each task your full attention, and don’t try to multitask.
Let people help you
Sadly, many victims tend to isolate themselves after a traumatic event, pushing away well-meaning friends and family. Although taking time for yourself is critical, letting loved ones in can help spead along the healing process. So, don’t shy away from their help and allow them to guide you through any challenging emotions.
Keep a journal
Many crime victims find that journaling about the experience brings them closure, using journals to work through complex emotional responses and help them understand the crime wasn’t their fault.
After the crime, victims often feel like the pain will never end. By journaling, you’ll see how your feelings and memories change as you live in the present.
Help exists in many forms for crime victims. First responders can connect you to local organizations that help victims recover their dignity and way of life. Family and friends can help people see they are loved and respected. As time passes, the pain and embarrassment will go away, and you’ll be able to live a life you enjoy.