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


PanicTrouble sleeping e.g. nightmares
TirednessShaky hands
FlashbacksAppetite change e.g. loss of appetite, over eating
Upset stomach


GuiltMood swings
CryingFeeling abandoned
DepressionMemory problems
Numbness/shockFeeling isolated
Can’t stop thinking about itConfused – can’t make decisions
SuspiciousForgetful/unable to concentrate


Avoiding peopleWithdrawal
“Can’t be bothered” attitudeLoss of control over life
Financial lossAbuse of alcohol/drugs
Conflict with family/friendsProblems at work/school
Loss of confidenceUnable to go out alone



  • 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.