Although everyone feels differently when they are affected by crime, a lot of people go through three main stages. The first is shock – you might be angry, confused, depressed, or just not able to believe what’s happened to you. You may even go through a stage of ‘denial’, when you tell people that you haven’t been badly affected, but really you’re just finding it difficult to admit that you’re upset about what happened.
The second stage is acceptance, when what has happened to you, and the fact that you are a victim of crime, slowly starts to ‘sink in’. The third stage is readjustment, when you get back to your usual life – although often people make some changes, to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. As you try to understand what has happened, it’s not unusual to have strange or negative thoughts, or really strong feelings such as fear and anger – even flashbacks to the crime itself.
Not everyone goes through these stages, and people who do will still have different feelings along the way; but if any of this process feels familiar to you, then you need to know you’re not alone, that the way you feel is not wrong, and that there are people who can help you.
Below are some of the other reactions that young people often have when they are a victim of crime, along with more information about how you can deal with them. If you’re experiencing any of these feelings or emotions, the best first step is to talk to an adult you can trust about how you are feeling.