Victims of crime frequently have to deal with a wide range of psychological reactions.
While most people are aware of the physical and financial harm caused by a crime, traumatic experiences and the consequences they have for the victims generally receive less attention and are less well-understood.
Any victims of crime who suffer psychological trauma frequently describe their situation with the words: “Nothing’s the same anymore”.
When someone’s physical or psychological integrity is attacked or severely threatened, they may experience trauma. They find themselves in an unexpected situation in which they feel desperate and helpless, and this feeling of helplessness may have a permanent effect on how they see themselves and their perception of the world.
People who have been the target of a crime may lose their trust in others, often permanently. Some victims may develop a strong sense of suspicion in relation to others, which may ultimately lead to total estrangement from family, friends and society.
Those subjected to crime often suffer psychosomatic consequences, i.e. physical reactions to emotional stress. Certain stimuli, such as a particular sound that reminds the victim of the crime against them, trigger not only memories but physical reactions such as a pounding heart or a rise in blood pressure.
This may lead to secondary diseases such as chronic high blood pressure.
Another common symptom developed by victims of crime is a chronic pessimistic view of the future. This can be seen in their passive behaviour or diminished self-esteem when it comes to carrying out daily tasks and obligations.