Things to remember
People who are victims of crime often do not know or are unsure of what they should do about it. They need someone who, in a friendly and supportive way can listen, understand and help them.
The physical and psychological reactions to the crime and its aftermath can be complex. Therefore, a victim of crime also needs support to handle the consequences of their ordeal.
A Victim Support Organisation can help by providing free and confidential emotional and practical assistance, as well as information about the criminal justice system.
If you’re a victim of crime
Practical advice to follow if you were a victim of crime:
- if possible, remain calm;
- don’t react violently or you might get injured;
- select a list of people you trust to contact in case of an emergency and place their numbers at your cell phone’s speed dial;
- try to memorize all important phone numbers (police, hospital, friend/s);
- if you have children teach them how to use the phone to contact the police;
- if you don’t know the offender when the crime is occurring, you must try to memorize as many features of the offender as you can, namely: color of his skin; age; body signs; pronunciation or accent; color and shape of the eyes; clothing; hair; height and glasses;
- if possible, try to identify witnesses and, if that’s the case, the offender’s vehicle number plate;
- immediately after the crime, try to go to a safe place and (if you wish to do so) contact the authorities through the emergency number;
- you may report the incident to the police and if you do so, make sure you receive a copy of the police report;
- describe what happened, providing as much details as you can, specially from the assailant(s);
- when you report a crime, you should make it clear that you want to be kept informed about the way your case is being handled;
- contact a victim support organisation;
- talk to someone immediately, if possible a relative or a friend; don’t keep it to yourself;
- go to the hospital, even if you don’t have visible injuries or bruises;
- ask for help to deal with the emotional effects of crime (from the victim support organisation);
- ensure that your freedom and decisions are always respected;
- you may report any claims or damages to the office of the public prosecutor before the case goes to court;
- if that’s the case, report the incident to your insurance company;
- in the event of bodily injury, claim compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement and injury, costs, etc.;
- the victim support services can provide you with psychological support during the court proceedings;
- the victim support services can help you to find out whether you are entitled to received legal help – a representative of the injured party – at no cost;
- you can ask the accused to leave the court when you give your evidence if it means that you’ll feel more comfortable to talk;
If you’re a victim of crime you are entitled to receive free advice from:
- victim support services:
- the police authorities;
- your insurance company;
- the social welfare services.
If you know someone that’s been a victim of crime, please:
- try not to “mediate” between the victim and the offender;
- do not confront the offender: it might be dangerous for you and for the victim.
- do not tell the victim that you’ll be disappointed if they don’t do what you told them to or if the victim comes back to the offender;
- do not make comments that might make the victim feel guilty.