What Should I Do If I Am a Crime Victim?

While it can be difficult to find your bearings after an attack or violent crime, there are things you should do if you are a crime victim. If you are able, perform the following six steps:

1) Find a Safe Place

Your safety should always be your first priority. If a crime has occurred, your goal should be to get to a safe place where you can call for help. If the perpetrator attacked you on the street, get to a well-lit area full of people. Do not try to chase your attacker down. If you are in a home with your attacker and you cannot leave, find a safe room and lock the door.

2) Call the Police

Once you have made it to safety (or if you cannot get to safety without help), call for assistance. As calmly as possible, tell the officer your whereabouts and what happened to you. The responding officer will evaluate the situation and file a police report based on his observations. This police report can be a crucial piece of evidence. Be honest with the officers and tell them exactly what happened.

3) Seek Medical Assistance if Needed

If your crime involved some sort of physical attack, it is in your best interest to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Call an ambulance to your location if you are unable to go to the hospital yourself.

Seeking medical attention immediately is critical to making sure your injuries receive treatment in a timely fashion. Waiting too long to receive treatment could make your injuries worse and even result in lifelong disabilities.

Additionally, seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after a crime will allow documentation of your injuries before they start healing. If you have medical records to prove that you suffered injuries and that you sought treatment immediately and often, we might have an easier time holding the perpetrator accountable for his actions.

Seeking immediate treatment is particularly important in cases involving sexual assault. Sexual assault victims can opt to have doctors perform a “rape kit” to collect as much evidence as possible within 72 hours of the incident. The earlier you report to the hospital, the more evidence they will likely be able to collect.

4) Speak with a Victim Advocate

Being the victim of a crime can turn your entire life upside down. Seek out a victim advocate who can help you take the next steps to reclaim your life. You can find a victim advocate on the National Organization for Victim Assistance’s website.

5) Save Evidence

While it can be tempting to throw away anything that might remind you of the crime, this is evidence we might be able to use later. Ensure you do the following:

  • Do not change your clothes. If you feel you must, bag up any clothes you were wearing during the attack.

  • Do not shower before speaking with police or going to the hospital. If your attacker made any physical contact with you, his/her DNA could be on your clothes or skin.

  • Save any communication you had with your attacker. You can “screenshot” text messages and emails or take notes of any phone calls you have with your attacker.

  • Make a list of any eyewitnesses to the crime.

  • Write down everything you remember about the attack. Note where it occurred, exactly what happened, and who your attacker was. If you did not know him, write down everything you can remember about him. Did your attacker have any distinguishing features, such as a tattoo or a scar? Did he carry a gun or knife? Do you know which kind? Did he say anything to you? Note what his voice sounded like.

6) Speak to an Attorney

While we all want the justice system to do its duty and convict the people who hurt us, unfortunately, a criminal case does little to compensate a victim for his/her losses and pain. That is where the team at Edwards Pottinger LLC comes in.

Our attorneys have years of experience handling a variety of civil crime cases and have recovered damages for hundreds of clients. We know the elements of each crime and how to prove them in court to ensure the judge or jury to rule in our favor. However, there is a time limit to file civil suit, so it is important that we start working on your case as soon as possible after the incident.

We understand how difficult it is to move forward after an attack. But we will be there for you every step of the way. We will help you get the justice you deserve by filing suit against the perpetrator that victimized you. Call us today at 954-524-2820 to discuss the specifics of your claim today.