How to Assist a Victim of Violent Crime

One of the most horrible experiences a person can face is becoming the victim of a violent crime. If you know someone who’s the victim of a violent crimes, you may be wondering what you can do to assist a person victimized in this manner. There are a number of different ways that you can provide practical assistance to a victim of violent crime.

Who Is a Victim of Violent Crime?

There are two classes of victims of violent crime. First, there are individuals who’ve been directly victimized. For example, a person who’s been assaulted, raped, or killed is a direct victim of violent crime.

Second, there are victims of violent crime who aren’t the direct targets of this type of criminality. For example, the spouse or children of a person who has been assaulted, raped, or killed are also victims of violent crime. 

Victim Assistance Programs

Throughout the country, state and local units of government maintain victim assistance programs of different types. One way in which you can be of assistance to a victim of violent crime is to help an individual in locating and applying for aid and support through these programs. An example of such a victim assistance program is California Victim Compensation Board

The California Victim Compensation Board can provide a victim of a violent crime with assistance, support, and resources in a number of different ways. These include:

  • Compensation for medical bills
  • Compensation for mental health and emotional counseling and support
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Compensation for property damages and losses
  • Crime scene cleanup

The reality is that a violent crime scene can necessitate a considerable amount of cleanup and remediation. An experienced crime scene cleanup professional should be hired for the task. The California Victim Compensation Board will pay for crime scene cleanup by providing a victim up to $1,000 for this purpose. 

As an aside, a violent crime victim may have no idea how to go about finding a reputable crime scene cleanup company. A direct victim of a violent crime as well as an indirect victim of such an offense (family members and the like) should seriously consider obtaining professional assistance to undertake violent crime scene cleanup. 

A violent crime victim has already experienced an emotionally overwhelming event. The truly daunting emotional challenges associated with being a violent crime victim should not be unduly aggravated by this type of victim personally undertaking cleanup.

In addition, violent crime scene cleanup presents health risks. Blood and bodily fluids associated with a violent crime scene can contain what are known as dangerous pathogens. Pathogens are organisms with the ability to cause disease in humans. Pathogens include dangerous bacteria and viruses. 

As a result of these two overriding issues, a violent crime victim truly needs professional assistance to take on this type of remediation. Again, because of what a violent crime victim has been through assistance in finding a cleanup or remediation professional can be invaluable. 

Counseling and Support Groups

Another way in which you can assist a victim of violent crime is to help them find a suitable counselor, therapist, or support group. There are a myriad of different types of professionals and support groups designed to aid and assist victims of violent crimes. Indeed, these professionals and support groups tend to be targeted for specific types of violent crime victims. For example, these resources can focus on the needs of victims of sexual assault, victims of drug-related crimes, families and friends of violent crime victims and so forth. 

In the aftermath of a violent crime, a victim may lack the wherewithal to seek out this type of support and assistance on his or her own. Such an individual can benefit from accessing these types of resources. However, as a result of being victimized in this manner, he or she may not be fully up to the task to researching what is available in the way of this type of support and assistance. 

Friendly, Nonjudgmental Sounding Board

Assisting a person in the aftermath of a violent crime need not be a complicated task. Rather, a very simple step a person can take to assist a violent crime victim is to be available to simply listen and talk. When it comes to being a friendly, nonjudgmental sounding board for a victim of violent crime means you should listen far more than you should speak. “You have two ears. You have one mouth. You should listen twice as much as you speak.”

In the final analysis, you provide a violent crime victim a tremendous amount of vital support and assistance merely by being there. Your presence reminds a violent crime victim that the incident is not his or her fault. Moreover, it also sends the all-important message that a violent crime victim has people in his or her life that truly care.