Coping with Assault

If you a victim of assault
Coping With an Assault
Useful websites

If you are a victim of assault

It is a major shock to find yourself as the victim of a violent assault. Being hit, punched, kicked or otherwise physically harmed or threatened with physical harm by another person can cause not only physical injuries, but significant psychological distress as well.

If the perpetrator is someone you know, or someone you trusted, there may be added emotional issues to deal with. You may have thought you were safe because there were others around, yet no one helped. You may have had to go to a hospital emergency department. There you may have found that your injuries were not regarded as serious and that you were not given any priority as the victim of a crime.

You may be wrestling with many questions now such as:

  • Who did this?
  • Why me?
  • Will it happen again?
  • Why did no one help?
  • What did I do to deserve this?

You may be experiencing a range of reactions and emotions such as:

  • Worry, anxiety, intrusive thoughts and images, self-blame, and hypervigilance
  • Shock, sorrow, sadness, fear, anger, numbness, irritability, guilt and shame
  • Extreme withdrawal, conflict with friends and family

You may be experiencing physical symptoms in addition to any injuries you suffered during the assault such as:

  • Fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, stomachaches, exaggerated startle response, sleep disturbances (sleeping too much or not enough, nightmares), eating too much or not enough, and/or excessive use of alcohol or other drugs

Coping with an Assault

You are likely to experience a wide range of different feelings and reactions to the assault such as anger, sadness, fear, and shame. You may feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. It can make it easier if you allow yourself to experience the whole range of emotions you will go through as you come to grips with what has happened. Although you may feel as if you are the only one experiencing these feelings—and that no one else understands what you are going through— remember that your reactions are normal.

You may find yourself withdrawing from friends and family. You may also find yourself avoiding going out or doing activities that you used to enjoy. If you find yourself in this situation, try to find one or two people who you trust and who you can talk to. Take small steps each day to take care of yourself such as going to the cinema, taking a walk or cooking a meal

If you are overwhelmed by your painful emotions, or after some time passes you find that you are unable to carry on with normal activities, it may be helpful to see a GP and get medical advice and possible referrals to counselling.

Financial Impact

You may have medical expenses and/or you may have missed work resulting in a loss of earnings as a result of the assault. Compensation may be available to assist you.  You can ring the Crime Victims Helpline at 116 006 for more information.

Criminal Justice System

Whether you have been assaulted by a stranger or someone you know, the best way to ensure your safety is to report the incident to the Gardaí. Of course, the decision whether or not to report the assault is entirely yours. Making a report involves providing a statement to the investigating Garda about what happened. If the offender is charged with the assault, you may be called to provide evidence (testify) in court.

Crime Victims Helpline is here to assist with support and information in relation to any of the issues that arise for you as a victim of crime. You can call us on Freephone 116 006, email us on, or text us on 085 133 7711.

Useful websites

Victim Support at Court  Victim Support at Court will support you as a victim or witness through the court process, and accompany you to court if you wish.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal    Information on compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of injuries received in a violent crime.