Crime Victims Resource Center: How to help a friend

Published 9:44 am Thursday, July 7, 2016

Unfortunately, you probably know somebody who has or will become a victim of crime. Support from family and friends is very important to the recovery of a crime victim but it can be very difficult to know that right things to say and do when a crime happens to someone you know.

Helping someone who has been victimized doesn’t require a Ph.D. in psychology; the most important skill to have is the ability to listen patiently, without interruption or judgment. Your friend may have strong emotions (anger, fear) but it is important to remember that they are not directed at you, even if it may seem so.

There are a few key things to do — and not do — when assisting your friend. Do reassure them that they are not to blame for what happened; sometimes a victim’s first reaction is to blame himself or herself for what happened. Do allow your friend to express their anger — anger is a logical response to being victimized. Do not immediately talk to them about the importance of forgiving the person who victimized them as this can make them feel like you are judging their anger to be inappropriate, or that you are minimizing their victimization.

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Being three for someone who has been traumatized can be emotionally draining so it is important that you take care of yourself also. Encourage your friend to reach out to others in the community who can also assist them with what they are going through. We at the Crime Victims Resource Center, 507-437-6680, are available to provide you with options to give your friend to help them recover.