Recovering from crime

Everyone reacts differently to being a victim of crime. There are ways to recover and to seek support and assistance.

Select a link below for more information about that topic:

How crime may affect you

Everyone reacts differently to being a victim of crime - some are affected physically and others may be affected emotionally or psychologically.

Here are some examples of how a crime may affect you.

Physical effects:

  • headaches, migraines or stomach aches
  • not being able to concentrate or focus
  • sleeping problems including nightmares and vivid dreams
  • change in eating habits such as loss of appetite or overeating.

Emotional and psychological effects:

  • anxiety, stress, worry or fear
  • being angry and frustrated
  • flashbacks or intrusive thoughts or going over and over in your mind what happened
  • feeling no-one really understands or people don't believe you
  • feelings of blame; whether others blame you for what happened or you blame yourself
  • feeling vulnerable, unsafe and not being able to stay on your own
  • feelings of being out of control or unable to cope
  • a loss of interest or feeling disconnected from the world
  • difficulty talking about the crime and how it makes you feel
  • feelings of shame or humiliation
  • withdrawing from relationships or social activities.

Ways to recover from crime

Everyone reacts differently to being a victim of crime and there is no set formula to recovering.

Actions you can take to recover from crime include:

  • talking to someone you trust - talking can help you stop feeling alone and to make sense of what happened. This could be a family member, a friend or a counsellor.
  • increasing your safety - increased safety can help reduce your fear
  • getting answers to your questions - correct information can help deal with confusion and give you a clearer focus about the situation
  • taking extra care when doing everyday things, like driving etc.

Practical tips and suggestions that have helped other victims of crime are:

  • taking time to think through what you need
  • making your own decisions wherever you can - this helps to increase your sense of control again
  • not expecting too much of yourself, as you are already coping with the effects of a crime
  • remembering you are still the same person you were before the crime
  • re-establishing your normal routine as soon as possible
  • trying to get plenty of sleep, gentle exercise and regular meals
  • eliminating any unnecessary stresses
  • doing something each day - big or small - to care for yourself such as exercise, seeing a friend, buying a bunch of flowers, making an appointment you need
  • keeping a journal and diary
  • talking to a medical practitioner or counsellor if you are feeling overwhelmed or if you would like professional help and advice.

Information sheets on coping with crime

Our publications page has information sheets that may help you.

Help, support and counselling

For contact details of services that may help victims of crime, please see the Help and Support page.

Counselling

Counselling may assist you to recover from the affects of a crime. Counselling can help you to understand your reactions to what has happened and help you find ways to deal with the effects you are experiencing.

Counselling can allow you to:

  • talk about what happened, if you want to
  • understand what you are feeling and thinking
  • seek ways to cope after the event
  • gain the support you need.​

Victims Services Approved Counselling Service

Victims of violent crimes that have occurred in NSW may be eligible for free counselling through the Approved Counselling Service.

Community Health Centres

Community Health Centres are located throughout NSW and provide many services including counselling, stress management and mental health services.

To locate your nearest Community Health Centre visit the NSW Health website.

Psychiatrists and psychologists

Services provided by psychiatrists and psychologists may be available to you via Medicare. You can visit your local GP for a referral. For more information visit the Australian Government's Department of Health and Ageing website.