Information for Crime Victims and Witnesses
Have you been
the victim of or witness to a crime?
A crime victim is anyone who suffers as a result of ruthless design
by another person. A pickpocket, mugger, con artist or rapist can make
you a victim. So can the person who breaks into your car. Each victimizes
in a different way. The suffering that the victim experiences is generally
the result of physical and/or psychological loss. People who witness
crimes can also experience difficulties because their sense of safety
and security is also affected.
What are common reactions
of crime victims?
If you have been a victim of or witness to a crime, there are certain
responses that are common. You may re-experience the event in memories,
or in dreams or nightmares. You may feel detached from others, and withdraw
from activities in which you previously participated--especially those
activities related to the crime. Other responses include sleep disturbances,
guilt or blaming yourself for the crime, memory and concentration problems.
Sometimes the crime victim experiences him/herself as weak, helpless,
frightened and out of control. You are not alone in these feelings.
They are experienced in some form by all crime victims.
What steps can you take
to help recover from this experience?
REPORTING the crime can be an important
first step in taking control again of your own life. Contact your local
police precinct. (Precinct phones are listed in NYC government listings
blue pages section of your phone directory.) If the crime took place
on campus, notify the Office of Safety and Security in 1433 Boylan Hall
(951-5512). The NYPD Sexual Victims Liaison Unit is (212) 267-7273.
SELF HELP GROUPS
are a good place to start and provide a good support system.
Hearing others recount their experiences will not only validate your
own feelings (which may be confused), but will give you a help in resolving
some of these conflicting feelings. The Victims Services Agency has
offices at these locations (or see the latest listings in the phone
book): 3021 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 827-4700; 6013 Fifth Avenue,
Brooklyn, 439-1010; 50 Court Street, Brooklyn, 858-9070; 285 Bainbridge
Avenue, Brooklyn, 574-6330. Another organization, Victims For Victims,
is located at 68 Vesey Street, Manhattan, (212) 431-1200.
READING may be a
helpful way for you to get information. Especially recommended are:
Invisible Wounds: Crime Victims Speak by Shelley Neiderbach (Haworth
Press) and The Crime Victim's Book by Morton Bard (Brunner Mazel). Both
are available in the counseling center library.
COUNSELING can help
a person to recognize that the responses they have are normal and can
assist the person to begin to take charge of their life again. Counseling
provides support and teaches how to cope with fears, guilt, and all
the emotions that go along with being a crime victim.
If you or someone you care about has been the victim of a crime and
have been experiencing any of the above responses or if you would like
more information, come in and speak with a professional counselor in
0203 James Hall. All services are free and confidential.