Normal reactions to a crime

Becoming a victim of a crime can be a distressing life event. It can help victims of crime to know that:

  • You may have a range of reactions such as anxiety, fear, nightmares and problems relating to others
  • Not everyone has the same reaction and some people may have a delayed reaction
  • Depending on what happened, it will usually take 6-8 weeks to feel more in control again. For some, it could take longer
  • It is helpful to remember there are different ways to recover from what has happened
  • You can talk to someone you trust or a support service.

Some possible effects of experiencing a crime

Victims of crime and at times, their family and friends, may experience some of the following effects of a crime.

Physical effects

  • feeling tense or jumpy
  • difficulty sleeping
  • nightmares
  • constant tiredness
  • feeling uncoordinated
  • loss of appetite

Emotional effects

  • feelings of "going crazy"
  • sadness, grief or loss
  • anger or irritability
  • feeling guilty

Cognitive effects

  • poor attention span
  • difficulty making decisions
  • confusion
  • slowed thinking
  • forgetting details of daily life

Behavioural effects

  • avoiding people or places that remind you of the event
  • using alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings
  • staying busy to block out thoughts of the crime

Many of these reactions will fade over a period of weeks, although some might last longer. There are ways to cope with the effects of crime.