A violent crime is when someone physically hurts or threatens to hurt someone, and also includes crimes where a weapon is used. The police will record a crime as violent if the offender clearly intended or intends to physically harm you, regardless of whether or not it results in a physical injury.

Violent crimes can include:

Violent crimes can happen in public spaces such as in the street, clubs and pubs, as well as at home or in the workplace, and often the victim knows the person who attacks them. The important thing to remember is it’s not your fault. You haven’t done anything wrong, and it’s the person who has been violent that is to blame. No-one has the right to hurt you.

It can be extremely frightening to experience a violent crime. As well as possibly being hurt or injured physically, you can be very seriously affected emotionally.

Many people find it hard to deal with the feeling of being powerless when they’re threatened. Other common feelings include:

  • finding it hard to believe what has happened, and feeling numb
  • feeling deeply upset
  • feeling your life is completely out of control
  • physical symptoms such as ‘the shakes’, sleeplessness or crying all the time
  • extreme anger towards your attacker
  • self-blame for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All of these reactions, and more, are completely normal responses to experiencing violence.

However you react, you can talk in confidence to someone from Victim Support. We have specially trained staff and volunteers to help people affected by violent crime.

We know crimes like this can also have a strong impact on friends and family, and we’re here to support anyone affected. If you’d like information, support or just to talk, you can contact us at any time.

If you’ve been hurt or abused by someone you know or love, the effects may be even greater. As well as the experience itself, you’ve had your trust broken, which can affect your relationships with other people.

It can also feel more difficult to speak out against people you know or love. You might feel guilty or ashamed about what has happened, but it’s important to remember you haven’t done anything wrong, and that we can help.

Experiencing a crime involving a weapon, such as a gun or knife, can be shocking. Whether or not you were actually hurt, the fact someone has used a weapon to force you to do something can have a strong effect on you both emotionally and physically.

If you’re being threatened and are at risk of weapons being used against you, it’s really important you contact the police or a specialist agency who can help you think through emergency safety strategies.

It’s illegal to carry a banned or imitation knife or gun. This still counts as a gun or knife crime, even if the weapon can’t be used.

We believe all victims of violent crime should be able to get the help they need, and the support that will empower them to move on from the impact of violence. We don’t just help people who’ve recently been a victim of crime – we are here to support you weeks, months or years after the crime took place.

All of our services are confidential, free and available to anyone who’s been affected by crime. We can help, regardless of whether you’ve told the police or anyone else about the attack. Our victims’ services teams are staffed by specialist caseworkers and supported by well-trained, professional and experienced volunteers. They’ll help you decide on what action you want to take and the support and help that feels right for you.

We’ll also help you to access compensation for any injuries you’ve suffered as a result of a violent crime. Remember, you need to report the crime to the police as soon as possible in order to receive any compensation for injuries.

You may be able to apply for compensation if you’ve been injured because of a violent crime.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is funded by the government. It’s run by an agency called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

You have two years to apply, and the crime has to be reported to the police.

Find out more about compensation, and if you’re eligible and how to claim.

If your injuries aren’t covered by the scheme, the CICA can sometimes make payments for some loss of earnings due to the injury. The Hardship Fund provides temporary financial support to very low paid workers who have to take time off work because they’ve been a victim of violent crime.

We’ll work with you in a confidential way. This means we won’t share any information with your family, the police or anyone else without your permission. The only time we’ll ever share any information without your permission is if we’re worried about a child or vulnerable person’s safety.

We may be worried if you tell us about an adult who may pose a risk to a child or vulnerable adult, they may be in a position where they could still be violent towards, or are still abusing, another person. We’ll always explain our boundaries of confidentiality and talk to you about how we can best share information with the police if necessary, while helping to keep you safe.

When you report a crime to the police, they should automatically ask if you’d like help from an organisation like Victim Support. But anyone affected by crime can contact us directly – you don’t need to talk to the police to get our help.

You can get in touch by:

You can also create a free account on My Support Space – an online resource containing interactive guides to help you manage the impact crime has had on you.

If English is not your first language and you’d like support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak. We’ll call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK and SignLive (BSL).

Families and friends affected by crime can also contact us for support and information. If you’re a child or young person under 18 and are looking for support, visit our children and young people website for information and tips.