The effects of crime

Beyond the direct harm caused by a crime, there are common emotional and physical effects that you may experience. You can get support.

While everyone is different, if you are a victim of crime, understanding common reactions to traumatic events can be helpful.

This website has information about support services available for people affected by a range of crimes. 

If you need help, it is important to reach out. If someone close to you has been affected by crime, you can learn more about how to support them.

Just after the crime

You may feel shocked, fearful or angry.

A common reaction is feeling numb and having trouble believing that this has happened to you.

Your emotional and physical health

Experiencing a range of emotions is a normal part of being affected by a crime. In most cases, they are temporary, and you will recover in the days, weeks or months following the incident with the support of friends and family.

You might experience:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • sleep problems or fatigue
  • jumpiness
  • repeated thoughts of the event.

Or you might have feelings that come and go, like:

  • guilt
  • fear
  • anger
  • sadness
  • confusion
  • helplessness.

Your day-to-day life might be affected by:

  • trouble with your concentration or memory
  • reduced performance at work or school
  • withdrawing from others
  • feeling like you’ve lost control.

But sometimes the recovery process is more difficult. Some people experience depression or anxiety, and related ongoing physical effects. It is important to seek professional help if you think that this may be happening.  Doing this early can help you recover more quickly.

Your recovery

This video:

  • explains how your brain and body worked together at the time of the event
  • explains some of the feelings you may be experiencing
  • gives tips to help you in your recovery.

Tips to help your recovery

  • talk about how you feel with someone you trust
  • structure your life as much as possible
  • accept that you may have good days and bad days
  • eat regularly and nutritiously
  • make sure you get physical exercise
  • limit your alcohol and drug use
  • keep a journal of how you feel each day
  • defer major life decisions
  • be kind and gentle with yourself.

Dealing with the justice system

After a crime has happened, you may feel uncertain about what to do next or concerned about what will happen once the crime is reported. It can also be difficult to take in and remember new information that police or other services give you.

You can use this website to learn more about:

When you talk to police, prosecutors and victims services, you can ask questions about anything you are unsure about. Some people find it helpful to have a family member or friend act as a support person who can:

  • be with you and provide emotional support
  • help you collect and remember information you need to know
  • give you a hand with any practical arrangements you need to make.

Getting help

You can learn more about assistance available in Victoria for people affected by crimes on this website.

Counselling and crisis support services


24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Open 24 hours, every day 
Call 13 11 14 

Mental health care plan – see your General Practitioner

If you need assistance, you can see a General Practitioner and discuss your situation. You may be eligible for a mental health care plan that will assist with the cost of counselling.