It is important to understand the different ways that crime can affect victims—psychologically, financially, physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually. Understanding this, in turn, leads to understanding the needs of victims of crime.
There are needs that are common to all victims, such as the need for information, the need to respectful treatment and the need to understand the proceedings. According to Victim Support UK, research has found that the most frequently expressed needs include emotional support or someone to talk to; a single point of contact; information from the police; updates on the progress of the case; and guidance to help prevent revictimisation .
These common factors allow us to make comprehensive decisions for victims of crime as a singular group. However, it is important to acknowledge the existence of individual factors. These cannot all be precisely predefined, as each individual will react to a crime in a manner unique to themselves. Therefore, it is imperative that a generalisation about victims’ needs does not override the existence of individual needs.
With the knowledge of both common and specific needs, we can develop uniform comprehensive recommendations covering all victims whilst establishing flexibility in the system to address individual and group needs. From existing knowledge and expertise in the field, Victim Support Europe summarises victims’ needs within five broad headings: