How to Heal and Recover from Assault

This post is a part of our guide series to support anyone who may have been assaulted in the past or has questions around the topic:

What is Assault? Definitions & Meanings
Who Commits Assault & Why?
What counts as Assault?
How to Report Assault (and Who to Report it to)
How is Assault Proven in Court?
Punishment & Sentencing for Assault
How to Heal and Recover from Assault
What Impact Does Assault Have on Victims, Families & Friends?
What Effects Does Assault Have on Wider Society?
How can Assault be Prevented?
Assault Data & Statistics
Assault Helplines, Support & Further Reading

Being a survivor of assault is a challenging journey, but also an empowering one, it’s very important to bear in mind that every victim’s journey to healing is different.

This guide aims to help victims of assault understand how to heal and recover from their experience, it’s important to know that there is support out there to help you through this journey and to move forward with your life.

How do I overcome being a victim of assault?

Focus on how you are feeling and what you need for yourself, be loving and supportive to yourself. Reach out to friends and family and learn to discover yourself and things that interest you and make you feel happy, this could mean taking up a new hobby such as swimming or walks in the park. Make a choice of what may be harmful or helpful to your healing and recovery.

Connect with people who can offer you love and support after going through this ordeal. They will be able to help you to reconnect you with positive thoughts, your talents, strengths skills and abilities. You may even set new goals for yourself, turning your negative experience into positive ones. If however, you feel the grief of the incident/s is overwhelming and affects with your day to day living, you may want to consider consulting with a health professional.

How do I help someone close to me who has experienced assault?

Talk and listen to them, the right help and support from people they trust is invaluable for the victim of assault. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand what the victim has experienced when you are not in that situation yourself. However be careful not to say anything that would damage the victims confidence any further, it is important that you listen without judging or criticising. By talking to the victim in an encouraging and supporting tone, you will help build the victims confidence, making them feel stronger.

Another way of supporting the victim would be offering to give evidence as a witness. The victim may have decided to take legal action or reported to the police, in any event your evidence will help.  Remind the victim of their choice to report the assault and making their own decisions, do not try and pressure them to do anything. Remember your role is to provide support, not to make decisions on the victim’s behalf.

How long does it take to mentally/emotionally recover from assault?

It’s very important to bear in mind that every individual’s journey to healing is different, it can take time and is not an overnight process. Depending on the severity of the assault as well as other factors, victims can have a lifelong impact but its affects can be lessened by getting help.

Reaching out and talking to someone is really important. If you find you are unable to speak to friends and family because you fear them being judgemental, then consider someone independent, this may be a counsellor or psychotherapist. Some therapies teach you desensitisation techniques making it easier to navigate the trauma.

What if I never fully recover?

Having someone to you can talk to is key, there will be people in your life you genuinely care about you. This can be a long process but remember you are not alone, if you feel anxious about approaching friends and family, you may want to approach other organisations which are available to help and support you. Alternatively you may consider approaching your GP for professional help.

What should I do next?

Talking to someone you trust may help, however you may find it better to speak to someone independent such as a counsellor or psychotherapist. These people are trained in helping you to understand what you have been through and can offer further support and guidance. Do not be afraid to reach out for support if you need help with this. It is important to give yourself and your needs priority.

We understand how difficult it is to experience abuse, whether it is yourself or someone you know, sometimes trying to find help is not easy. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and the first step that you should take is to talk to someone. No one should have to deal with abuse alone.

Here at the Criminal Injuries Helpline, we help victims of violent crime and abuse recover compensation. You may want to help the victim gain some justice, get in touch with us today to see if the victim would qualify

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