Coping strategies

Becoming a victim of crime can be a very traumatic experience and it can have a different impact on everyone. There is no “right way” of feeling and the effects can last for a long time. 

After you experience a crime you may find that:

You feel upset, angry, unable to sleep, anxious, frustrated and many more emotions. Some people are surprised at just how emotional they feel after a crime. It may be the crime has triggered previous trauma that they have experienced. Because of this, these strong emotions can make someone feel even more unsettled and confused.  Even if you are not physically harmed during an incident, you may show physical symptoms. The shock and stress of becoming a victim of crime can cause physical symptoms, such as feeling sick or losing weight, and feeling ill.

A way that we can check in with ourselves to help us recognise if we need support, what this might look like and from who would be to ask the following restorative questions to ourselves:

How has the crime affected the way I feel about life/people/normal activities?

How have my routines been affected?

What would help me to feel better?

Can I do this on my own or do I need support?

Coping mechanisms are the strategies people can to help with the stress and/or trauma they have are or experiencing.  Coping mechanisms can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being.

Some useful coping mechanisms are:


This five-step exercise can be very helpful during periods of anxiety or panic by helping to ground you in the present when your mind is bouncing around between various anxious thoughts.

Before starting this exercise, pay attention to your breathing. Slow, deep, long breaths can help you maintain a sense of calm or help you return to a calmer state. Once you find your breath, go through the following steps to help ground yourself:

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a table, a spot on the floor, anything in your surroundings.

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a cushion, or the ground under your feet.

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound like a car outside. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts too! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in a classroom and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your kitchen and smell food cooking. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.

1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—sweets, a drink, or your last meal?

Worry Jar (Downloadable)

The worry jar is a helpful tool to decrease your anxious thoughts and feelings.  Placing your thoughts in the jar will help get them off your mind, at least for a little while.  What are some of the things you would like to stop worrying about for now? Download the worry jar and write them in, then pick a time when you would like to talk about these worries.  You could even get a friend or family member to help you with your worries. 

Feeling safe (downloadable)