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;

Get advice

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.

Help others

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.