Finding Closure After a Crime

a person standing in the rain

3.3 million Americans over the age of 12 were victims of a violent crime in 2018, per numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That’s an increase from the 2.7 million who were victimized in 2015. Those numbers mean about 1 percent of the American population is the victim of a violent crime. In other words, there are a lot of people out there who are trying and failing to deal with unresolved trauma after a crime. Seeing the perpetrator arrested and brought to justice can help, but it’s not a cure-all. Here are three things you can do to try and find closure after experiencing a criminal violation.

Keep tabs on the criminal

As the victim of a crime, you have certain rights. Each state recognizes the right to notification, as does the federal government. Since no two states are exactly alike, you should be able to find out more by calling or email the prosecutors’ office that worked on your case. In many cases, you may be able to sign up for notifications that tell you if, for instance, the person who victimized you got out of prison early for good behavior. 

But for some people, the state infrastructure feels like an inadequate response to their anxiety and worry. You may have good reasons for fearing that the person who attacked you will carry a grudge against you because you dared to report them to authorities, then testified against them in court. In that case, you can use other tools. Look for a prison inmate search on online information sites. Depending on the site, you may be able to get a more comprehensive look at the person’s whereabouts. 

File a civil suit

Let’s say the person who attacked you made a plea deal that involved little-to-no jail time. They do have to stay on probation for a couple of years, but you feel like that’s not good enough. You still want them to pay for what they did to you. In some cases, a civil case against the perpetrator will make sense.

If you’re not happy with the state’s response to the crime, you can talk to a Mobile, AL personal injury attorney about whether you may have a claim related to the incident. If you feel like that may be out of your budget, don’t. Many personal injury attorneys offer free or cheap initial consultations. You can use that first conversation to talk about your case, and the lawyer can respond by asking questions to clarify things. In personal injury suits, you must be prepared to prove intent. That’s not too hard for most violent crime victims to do, especially if there’s a police report and trial record documenting their claims. 

But proving that someone hurt you on purpose is one thing. Getting a financial settlement from them is another. Many people who are arrested are too poor to even afford their own lawyer. If your attacker got a court-appointed lawyer, that’s a good sign that they don’t have any assets worth pursuing. Somewhere between 60 and 90 percent of defendants cannot afford their own lawyer. Sure, a judge or jury could order them to pay you $50,000 for medical bills and emotional suffering. But if they’re living with family members and don’t have a job, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll see a cent of that court order. 

Get therapy 

The idea of therapy is harder for some people to grasp than others. Maybe you got mugged and held at gunpoint, which makes you a victim of a robbery. However, you feel like you shouldn’t complain because no one hit you, although the mugger did threaten to shoot if you didn’t hand over your wallet. But you’re still a prime candidate for therapy.

There’s more than one way to be traumatized. You don’t have to suffer in silence because you feel like your case isn’t as bad as other cases. If you feel stuck and can’t move on, it’s time to start calling therapists in your city. Look for ones who have experience working with trauma victims and people who have PTSD. 

Being involved in a crime is not easy, but it’s important to take the proper steps toward full closure. By doing so, you’ll be in a better standing to seek compensation from your attacker and get closer to recovery.

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