There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been a victim of a crime of violence:
- Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
- Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
- Help to empower your loved one. As most violent crimes take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
- If your loved one seems hopeless or engaging in self-harming behaviors, be courageous and discuss your observations. Encourage them to speak with a professional counselor about self-destructive thoughts and/or actions.
- Encourage your loved one to report the crime to law enforcement (call 911 in most areas).
- If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany him or her wherever s/he needs to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
- Encourage him or her to contact one of the hotlines, but realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get help.
It is also important to note that having a friend or family member who is the victim of a crime can be a very upsetting experience. For this reason it is also important that you take care of yourself. Even if your friend and family member isn’t ready to talk to a hotline specialist, you can get support for yourself. You can also get ideas about ways to help your friend or family member through the recovery process.
(Adapted from http://www.rainn.org/get-help/help-a-loved-one)