How to Support a Victim
Many victims of crime disclose their trauma to a friend or family member. It is difficult to find the words at times to show support and encourage them. One of the most important things that a friend or family member can do is believe them. Here are some ways to express concern to a victim of crime:
- I’m so sorry that this happened to you.
- What can I do to help?
- What can I do to help you feel safe?
- I can’t imagine what you may be going through right now.
- This was not your fault.
- What you’re feeling right now is normal.
It is important to allow the victim or survivor to make choices pertaining to their next steps. Allowing them to make decisions, big or small, helps them to regain a sense of control. A supportive person can be instrumental in providing resources, encouragement and information to help a student to make informed choices related to their trauma.
Remember that a victim may ultimately choose not to take legal action, seek counseling, etc. They may just want to forget what happened, which is a completely normal reaction. It is important to not attempt to shame them into taking action or become judgmental if they do not make a decision that you feel is right. Provide resources and information, ensure that they are safe and support their right to choose. This is difficult but know that what they are experiencing is overwhelming, and it is important to respect their right to do what is comfortable to them at that time. For more information or for consultation, please contact Student Victim Assistance.