Tips for dealing with the aftermath of violent crime
Leanne Graham, the new executive director of Victim Assistance Program in Akron, is a native of Whitman, Mass., in the state’s South Shore area.
She landed in Northeast Ohio in 2002 as a graduate student in Justice Studies at Kent State University. She soon began volunteering with the Victim Assistance Program in its Children Who Witness Violence Program — a collaborative with Akron Children’s Hospital and the Battered Women’s Shelter. She was hired to the Victim Assistance staff later in 2002.
Here are eight things she suggests someone can do for a friend who has been a victim of crime:
• Keep the conversation focused on the victim.
• Do not judge.
• Tell them you are sorry the crime happened to them.
• Put yourself in their shoes.
• Tell them about the Victim Assistance Program.
• Make them laugh.
• Make the suggestion to talk to a counselor or pastor, if appropriate.
• Let them know you are proud of them for taking steps to recover.
Here are nine suggestions for victims of crime to help them deal with the experience:
• Tell yourself it is not your fault.
• Ensure you have a solid support system.
• Keep in mind that people who are not educated about victimization may not understand what you are going through, which is why professional support can help.
• Accept help when someone offers.
• Don’t isolate yourself even when you want to.
• Engage in healthy coping skills.
• Journaling helps when you feel you can’t shut off your mind.
• Focus on your body’s basic needs.
• Avoid drugs, alcohol and risky behavior.
Here are three books Graham recently read about victims of crimes:
Helping a Neighbor in Crisis: How to Encourage When You Don’t Know What to Say. Edited by Lisa Barnes Lampman, with forward by Charles Colson and a chapter by the Rev. Robert Denton.
What to Do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss by Bill Jenkins.
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen, a book for children.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.