The Effects of Crime

Though crime can affect everyone differently, there are some certain effects that are commonly felt by people regardless of the nature of the crime. You may immediately feel strongly affected by what has happened or it may take some time. Everyone is different and there are no rules about what you ‘should’ feel and how you ‘should’ cope. Your reaction is personal and individual to you.

You may experience some, or all, of the following:


  • disbelief that this could happen to you
  • denial that it happened – the event may seem unreal, like a nightmare, or something that has not really happened
  • numbness – it may feel as if this has happened to someone else, not you.
  • you may have no feelings


  • of the same thing or something similar happening again
  • of being alone, or of going out
  • of returning to the place where the event occurred
  • of being further victimised because you reported the crime
  • of strangers, because anyone could be the perpetrator of the crime
  • of breaking down
  • of losing control
  • of being judged by others
  • of the changed world

Loss of Confidence

  • you may feel vulnerable. Something you thought could never happen to you has now happened
  • you may feel helpless because you could not control the situation and prevent this happening
  • you may believe that you don’t have control over important areas of your life any more
  • you may think that everyone knows what happened and is talking about it
  • you may feel that the world is not the safe, comfortable place you thought it was


  • at what has happened and at whoever caused or allowed it to happen
  • at the injustice and senselessness of it all
  • at the lack of proper understanding by others, such as family members or friends
  • at the slow pace of the justice system in investigating the crime, or charging someone with the crime
  • at yourself for being in this situation, or for not coping better with it all
  • at the perpetrator for being unaffected by your suffering and by what has happened
  • at others, for not being affected in the same way as you are


  • Down mood
  • Crying frequently and unexpectedly


  • that the same thing or something similar could happen again
  • that you will never get back your former sense of well-being
  • about your safety and the safety of loved ones
  • about any contact with strangers
  • about people approaching you from behind on the street, or even at home
  • about any sudden noise or unexpected movement


  • because you feel you might have avoided or prevented the crime had you acted differently
  • “if only I had….”  or  “I should have…”   thoughts and feelings
  • for surviving the event, or for not seeming as badly affected as others involved

Physical Symptoms

  • Headaches and body aches
  • Nausea and stomach upset
  • Faintness and dizziness
  • Disturbed sleep, sleeplessness, and nightmares
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Difficulty eating normally
  • Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs
  • If you have been injured in the crime, you will also be coping with the effects of the injuries.

Get Help Now

The Crime Victims Helpline is a listening and support service for victims of crime in Ireland. We provide time and space for victims to talk about their experiences. We also answer questions about the criminal justice system and help victims understand their rights.

Support Services

If you or a friend or family member has been impacted by crime, there are a number of organization in Ireland who can help.