First Steps for Victims of Crime
Are you in a safe place?
If you are in danger and or need emergency assistance please call 911 (United States) or your local authorities immediately.
Do you need to speak with someone right now? If you or a loved one are in need of emotional first-aid please reach out to one of the following lifelines to speak with a crisis counselor 24/7.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE – 1-800-273-8255 /¬† Nacional de Prevenci√≥n del Suicidio – 1-888-628-9454 / For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255
If you‚Äôre thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with a crisis counselor now. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support to everyone.
VETERANS CRISIS LINE – 1-800-273-8255 / Text 838255
The Veterans Crisis Line will connect you to qualified and caring responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This 24/7 lifeline serves all Veterans, Service Members, National Guard, and Reserve and their family members and friends.
THE TREVOR LIFELINE – 1-866-488-7386 / TrevorText -Text START to 678-678
The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25 years of age. TrevorText gives everyone access to confidential text messaging with a compassionate Trevor Counselor available 24/7/365.
SAMHSA’s NATIONAL HELPLINE – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) / or TTY: 1-800-487-4889
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, treatment referral and information service, available in English and Spanish. The helpline is for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Website: www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
Find your closest treatment location: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment
Are you or your loved one currently affected by a natural or human-caused disaster?
DISASTER DISTRESS HELPLINE – 1-800-985-5990 / Spanish-speakers can call the hotline and press “2” for 24/7 bilingual support / From the 50 States, text Hablanos to 66746 / From Puerto Rico, text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663 / TTY number is 1-800-846-8517
The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This crisis support service is for anyone experiencing emotional distress related to disasters such as tornadoes, severe storms, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, drought, and incidents of mass violence.
The DDH is available 24/7 to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, who can also utilize the texting options or their preferred relay service (including 7-1-1) to connect with the main DDH hotline is 1-800-985-5990, 24/7.
Resources for Victims of Crime
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to victim advocacy. Advocates, both professional and volunteer, work to affirm your rights, give information and provide services to victims of crime. Victim advocates are organized locally, within the jurisdiction of the crime. Because of the many jurisdictions in our nation, it is not possible to list all the agencies providing victim advocacy and assistance. To search, use key words ‚ÄúVictim Assistance” (County) (State).
For information on reporting a cybercrime, please click here.
To find information about legal assistance, please visit the National Crime Victim Law Institute.
To learn more about victim’s rights law, please visit VictimLaw, a resource from the U.S. Department of Justice.
A restraining order, or protective order, is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another person. It is also sometimes called a protection order, an injunction, an order of protection, or some other similar name. Visit The National Network to End Domestic Violence for more information.
As a victim of crime, you might qualify for financial assistance for a variety of needs resulting from your victimization. Qualifying uses vary from state to state but commonly medical bills, funeral costs or counseling expenses are covered. Compensation is managed on a state level and many states have applications for assistance available online. Visit the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Board for more information.
VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is a solution that lets victims of crime and other concerned citizens access timely and reliable information regarding offenders. It is free of charge to registrants, completely confidential, and features multiple language support.
Offering peace of mind, the VINE service lets victims call a toll-free number, visit¬†www.vinelink.com, or use the VINELink‚ĄĘ mobile app to anonymously check an inmate‚Äôs custody status and receive real-time alerts when that status changes.¬†Get notified of custody status on VINELink.com.
Emotional trauma is a common element for those who have experienced a crime or crisis, and all people experience trauma in unique ways. Some traumas you never ‚Äėget over‚Äô but you can learn ways to cope.
It is typical for victims to experience secondary trauma. Secondary trauma is emotional pain caused by the people and processes involved in the system and aftermath of crime. For instance, the US system of justice is not a speedy process. The investigation (if you get one), prosecution, and incarceration of the perpetrator all take time. The Justice System is deliberately slow at nearly every level. This commonly surprises victims and can add layers to the existing trauma. In addition,¬†some people will not understand the struggle and frustration behind the trauma. This can include family and close friends. As a result, many find it helpful to seek support from trauma-informed professionals.
To find someone you can talk to,¬†ask your Victim Advocate for recommendations. ¬†Here is a list of questions you can use when choosing a trauma-informed counselor (from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.)
For information about stalking, please visit the National Stalking Resource Center.
Victims of Domestic Terrorism and Mass Violence
For more information for and about victims of mass casualty, please visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s webpage on Domestic Terrorism and Mass Violence.