I have been a victim of crime! What should I do?
by Myra Ferell-Womochil 5/13/2015
One minute you are simply living your life, thinking about what you are going to do over the weekend, when – suddenly – you experience a traumatic shift. You have been victimized by someone else.
Being a victim, witness or survivor of a crime or crisis can, of course, be a very difficult and stressful experience. Police are involved, media reports on your crime, there may even be prosecutors, defense attorneys and a trial – the whole experience of your victimization can overwhelm you and will likely impact you for a very long time. You need someone who understands the criminal justice system and trauma to guide you through the process advise you of your rights and connect you with the right people and services that can help you heal as you seek justice.
Here are 5 things to help you with your first steps:
1.) Call an advocate, click here for help
An live advocate can help you by providing options that you have so you can make informed and educated choices. You will have to decide: Do you want to make a police report? What happens if I do? What happens if I don’t? If I do decide to talk to the police, what do I need to remember?
2.) What are my rights as a victim of crime? Different states have different rights, here are the Arizona crime victim rights, Click Here. If you are not in AZ- simply ask your advocate to look them up for you.
3.) Is this going to cost money? There are funds to help victims of crime with funeral expenses, wage loss, medical bills, counseling services and crime scene clean-up. Click here for the Arizona Victim of Crime Compensation Program. NOTE: There are criteria for eligibility, which includes that you report the crime within 72 hours.
4.) How to know what is happening in the Criminal Justice System? It is so confusing! Call a court advocate, Click here. There are many different steps in the Court Process and an advocate can help you to understand what you can to do to have a voice. Most County and City Attorney’s offices have some level of victim advocacy. Call them, request an appointment. Have your questions written down ahead of time.
You don’t know what to ask? That’s ok! Call us (928. 679.7770)and we will help you, even if you are outside of Flagstaff, Coconino County.
5.) You will need to start the healing process. While being a victim of crime is a traumatic and often horrible experience, you to make the transition from victim to survivor.
Remember That You Deserve to Be Kind to Yourself: Taking time to Practice Self-Care every day, even if it is only for a few minutes, really creates space for peace and emotional safety. It’s healthy to give yourself emotional breaks and step back from your situation sometimes. In the end, this can help you make the decisions that are best for you.
If in doubt, Call us!
Victim Witness Services (VWS), is that guide. Our caring team provides outreach, advocacy and support services to Coconino County residents during such moments through 24/7 Crisis Response, Criminal Justice Court Advocacy, Case Management, After-Care and Education.
We respond to all type of crimes and crisis situations; domestic violence, sexual assaults, assaults, homicides, suicide, child physical and/or sexual abuse, robbery or DUI crimes where there is a victim injury or fatality. VWS assists law enforcement with death notification support and provide families in crisis with resources and referrals.
All services offered to victims, witnesses and/or survivors of crime or crisis are offered free of charge. This office appreciates the diversity of our community and does not discriminate based on race, socioeconomic or class status, ethnicity, age, religion, ability, marital status, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, height, weight, national origin, language, education, political affiliations or HIV status. We love ‘em all!