If you have been the victim of a crime it is very common and in fact quite normal to experience a range of physical, emotional and social reactions to the crime.

These reactions are the signs and symptoms of stress and are normal ways that people cope after a traumatic event.

The reactions may last for a few days, weeks, months or longer. The reactions will vary from person to person and will change over time. For example, there will be days you feel you are coping well and other days when you feel you cannot cope with your normal daily routine.

It is important that you understand that your reactions to the crime are normal and that it will take time and support to help them pass. You may also require assistance from a counsellor if you are concerned about the intensity of your reactions.

 

Common Reactions that Crime Victims Experience

Physical 

Panic Trouble sleeping e.g. nightmares
Nervousness Dizziness
Headaches Uncoordinated
Tiredness Shaky hands
Flashbacks Appetite change e.g. loss of appetite, over eating
Upset stomach

Emotional

Sadness Worried
Guilt Mood swings
Crying Feeling abandoned
Depression Memory problems
Scared Anger/frustration
Numbness/shock Feeling isolated
Can’t stop thinking about it Confused – can’t make decisions
Suspicious Forgetful/unable to concentrate

Social

Avoiding people Withdrawal
“Can’t be bothered” attitude Loss of control over life
Financial loss Abuse of alcohol/drugs
Conflict with family/friends Problems at work/school
Loss of confidence Unable to go out alone

 

Remember

  • You have experienced a stressful event
  • You have been under enormous stress
  • These reactions are normal and temporary
  • Try not to be too hard on yourself
  • Give yourself time to recover and be good to yourself
  • Avoid doing anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or places you under more stress
  • Talk to someone you can trust about what you are going through
  • Try to keep up regular routines e.g. work, study etc.
  • Eat well balanced and regular meals
  • Find time to exercise, it is a great stress release
  • Try to relax and rest e.g. find a peaceful place
  • Avoid making dramatic life changes
  • Make decisions for yourself, you need to regain control of your life
  • Pamper yourself regularly – especially on those “bad days”
  • Monitor your drug/alcohol intake
  • If feelings and reactions become unbearable or too intense seek assistance from a professional counsellor

 

Further Information

If you would like more information, please contact your State Victim Support Service. You can also download the fact sheet and activity sheet below.