If you have been the victim of a crime, you are probably traumatized, which is understandable. However, taking the proper steps after a crime has occurred increases the probability that justice will ultimately be served.
Fortunately, you don’t have to face the prospect completely on your own. There are numerous resources available to help crime victims.
Steps for Crime Victims to Take
Naturally, if you are the victim of a crime, your first concern should be obtaining medical attention, if necessary. Even if you are not physically hurt, talking to a counselor or therapist may make it easier to deal with the circumstances.
You should also attempt to assess any property damage which might have occurred. If you can manage it, take notes about what happened while your memory is still fresh. If it is possible, collect statements from witnesses and take photographs of the scene. However, in many cases where crimes have occurred, police and first responders take over the crime scene. If that’s the case, it is advisable to allow the authorities to do their jobs without interference.
Although you may hesitate to do so, pursuing criminal charges is often the best way to ensure that guilty parties are held accountable for their actions. As the victim, that means filing a police report. Under certain circumstances, obtaining a restraining order may also be necessary.
You may also be called to testify if charges are brought and the case goes to trial. If the defendant is found guilty or obtains a plea deal, you may have the opportunity to deliver a victim impact statement before sentencing occurs.
Whether or not criminal charges are filed, you may be able to file a civil suit to collect damages. Many attorneys take such cases on a contingency basis, which means that you do not have to pay an upfront retainer. Instead, attorneys collect their fees from any judgments that you may be awarded by trial or via arbitration or mediation.
Resources for Crime Victims
As the victim of a crime, you have a number of resources available to help you cope. For instance, every state has a victim compensation fund to help cover medical expenses, counseling, court costs and related expenses for victims who suffer financial losses that are not covered by insurance, or who do not have insurance. The National Center for Victims of Crime represents another rich resource for victims, including an online portal that includes extensive information on domestic violence shelters, support groups, housing, and local social service providers.
If you’ve been victimized by crime, you’ve already suffered enough. Let Parnall Law Firm get you the justice you are entitled to.