First Steps / What to Do


  1. Establish Safety – Find a safe place and ask for help if you need it
  2. Care for Injuries – Go to the hospital to treat injuries and tell them they are a result of a crime BEFORE you are treated.
  3. Call the Police – But leave the crime scene intact so as not to destroy the evidence
  4. Document the Crime – While it may be the last thing you want to do, write down exactly what happened as soon as possible following your incident.


What should I do if I am a crime victim or a deceased victim’s next-of-kin?

What are my legal rights as a crime victim?

Can I submit a claim to the state for my losses?

How can I find out if an arrest has been made?

If charges are filed, how can I check on the status of the case?

Do I have the right to be present at all court proceedings?

What should I do if I am subpoenaed to testify in court?

Do I have the right to speak at sentencing?

Can I ask the judge to order the offender to pay for my losses?

How can I collect court-ordered restitution from the offender?

Will I be notified if the offender escapes or is going to be considered for parole or release?

Can I sue the offender or any other responsible party for my losses?

How can I find a lawyer to represent me?



The following information is provided courtesy of Witness Justice, a national organization providing help and healing for victims of violent crime.

If I experience a violent crime, what’s the first thing I should do?

I was victimized a long time ago and still don’t feel normal. I want to get back to my old self, but can’t. What’s wrong with me?

What is Acute Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I know someone who has been the victim of a violent crime and s/he seems like a different person. I want to help and be supportive, but nothing seems to make a difference. What should I do?

The police want me to help with their search for and prosecution of the offender(s), but I’m very reluctant. I’ve heard stories of criminals freed on loopholes or technicalities, and I’m afraid of going through all that for nothing. Should I risk it?

Why do most victims of violence choose not to report the crimes to the police?

What is “survivor’s guilt”?

What is “hypervigilance”?

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