Understanding the Common Reactions and Experiences of Crime Victims

Balloons To Honor Crime Victims

The trauma of victimization is a direct reaction to the aftermath of crime. After a trauma, people may experience a wide range of responses.

Long after the trauma, reactions tend to be triggered by people, places, sights, sounds, smells or tastes that are associated with the trauma.

Not everyone experiences the same type of reactions, and the following lists are only a guide to the most common reactions.

    Physical Reactions

  • Sudden sweating and/or heart palpitations (fluttering)
  • Aches and pains
  • Changes in sleep patterns, appetite
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Easily startled by noise or touch
  • Susceptible to colds and illnesses
  • Constipation or diarrhea

    Emotional Reactions

  • Shock, disbelief, denial
  • Fear, anxiety, disorientation
  • Grief
  • Hyper-alertness or hypervigilance
  • Irritability, restlessness, outbursts of anger or rage
  • Emotional swings (crying then laughing)
  • Worrying
  • Nightmares
  • Feelings of helplessness, panic, out of control
  • Minimizing the experience
  • Avoidance of anything associated with the trauma
  • Concern about burdening others with problems
  • Emotional numbing or restricted range of emotions
  • Flashbacks
  • Self-blame and/or survivor guilt
  • Shame
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Depression
  • Loss of a sense of order or fairness
  • Isolation
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
  • Feelings of betrayal
  • Questioning of spiritual beliefs