The Office for Victims of Crime, under the Office of Justice Programs, has released a new resource guide for supporting victims, just in time for the observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This week-long awareness, hosted this year from April 8 to April 14, is a series of outreach events to help law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups work to include all victims of crime in understanding the resources and support that are available to them.
According to the OVC, “This year’s theme—Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims—emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services. The theme addresses how the crime victims field can better ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support and how professionals, organizations, and communities can work in tandem to reach all victims.”
With the wide variety of crimes committed each day and the broad spectrum of how those crimes impact the victims, it’s all too easy to overlook people who are still struggling to make sense of what happened to them and work to recover from it. The Identity Theft Resource Center, for example, periodically releases the Aftermath Report, which seeks to understand how identity theft and related crimes affected victims who reached out to the ITRC that year for help.
The results of identity theft crimes and their impact have included some very surprising responses from victims in the past. Many have reported feelings of mistrust, depression, and even paranoia about their physical and financial safety. Others have reported medical issues due to loss of sleep and anxiety. Some have even reported that they sought professional medical help to help them recover, while others stated that they would have sought counseling or other services if they could have afforded it, something that they could not do as a result of the financial losses to identity theft.
Regardless of the crime or the severity of the toll it takes, it’s important for victims to know they’re not alone. There are advocacy groups and support networks in place for victims to call upon, and resources like the OVC and the ITRC are excellent places to start.
Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims. Join #IDTheftChat on Twitter April 13, 2018 9 am PT / 12 pm ET hosted by Identity Theft Resource Center & Office for Victims of Crime to learn how you can help victims of crime. #NCVRW2018