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Typical Responses After A Crime?

Although every victim is different, there are some typical responses:

Shock or numbness

Victims may feel “frozen” and cut off from their own emotions. Some victims say they feel as if they are “watching a movie” rather than having their own experiences. Victims may not be able to make decisions or conduct their lives as they did before the crime.

Denial, disbelief and anger

Victims may experience “denial,” an unconscious defense against painful or unbearable memories and feelings about the crime. Or, they may experience disbelief, telling themselves, “This could not be happening.” They may feel intense anger and a desire to get even with the person who committed the crime.

Confusion

Quite often, victims struggle with confusion about what has happened, and what is going on around them. They may repeat themselves several times, unaware of who they have previously said things to.

Guilt

Feelings of guilt are very common. Victims frequently think that they should have been able to do something to prevent the crime. They often think “If only I had . . . this wouldn’t have happened.”

A desire to become active and “do” something

It is very typical for some victims or family members to feel as though they need to “get busy” right away and make sure things are handled. This could be a way of coping for some.
Other Typical Responses:

  • trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • continual sadness with frequent crying
  • flashbacks
  • extreme tension or anxiety
  • lack of motivation and energy
  • outbursts of anger
  • memory problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • other symptoms of distress for days or weeks following a trauma

Secondary injuries: When victims do not receive the support and help they need after the crime, they may suffer “secondary” injuries. They may be hurt by a lack of understanding from friends, family, and the professionals they come in contact with – particularly if others seem to blame the victim for the crime (suggesting they should have been able to prevent or avoid it).

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Testimonials

"With the help of VSS, you are empowered and encouraged to fight back and be pro-active. Then your conscience can be more at peace because you know you have taken some action to protest crimes inflicted on your loved one. It is sometimes your only consolation."

“The one takeaway for me in working with VSS is that it is a necessary organization. I know they are funded by grants and fundraisers but it’s something we need to make sure as a community that they have the funding needed because what they do for people in need doesn’t happen anywhere else. This is the only place that this happens and VSS helps with so many things.”

David Rose

Anchor, Q13 News and Host, Washington’s Most Wanted

“VSS is there when the unthinkable happens.  When a police officer knocks on your door and gives you tragic news, VSS helps navigate the court system, which can be very confusing. VSS is compassion, caring, and commitment. Commitment to once justice is done that victims and their families can move forward with their lives.”

Mark Roe

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney

“When we can have VSS there with us working with people so they are getting taken care of, you feel like the whole system and community is more responsive. VSS can actually really work with and bond with the victims in ways that we can’t because of the volume we deal with.”

Jennifer Gregerson

Mayor, City of Mukilteo

“VSS has been our partner in recovery and healing and a key part in what makes Mukilteo Strong. VSS has been a trusted advocate for the victims that have suffered so much in the community.  I’m so grateful to VSS as our partner in strength.”

Jon Nehring

Mayor, City of Marysville

“VSS is there for people in their darkest hour. At a time when they need an advocate and friend, VSS steps in to fill that gap and help them begin their journey back to some sense of normalcy.” 

Myrle Carner

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

“This thing about closure. There is never really closure in a victim’s life but VSS helps individuals to get closer to that and that’s critical because the cops and the judicial system just move on to another case because they don’t have time. Victims live with this trauma forever so VSS is with them for as long as they need the services. VSS takes the time, more importantly, they really care."

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