The Impact of Victimization On Financial Fraud Victims
Portions courtesy of the: Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, United Nations, U.S. Department of Justice
Criminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. victimization is a frightening and unsettling experience for anyone. It is unpredictable, largely preventable, and often unexpected. Unlike normal life experiences, victimization is not sought out and is never welcomed. It is debilitating and demoralizing. Its effects can be often long-term and difficult to overcome.
Victims may be confused, fearful, frustrated, and angry. They want to know why this happened, and why it happened to them.
Victims often have no knowledge of who or where to turn in the aftermath of the crime. They feel insecure and do not know who to trust or rely on for support, understanding, and help. Not only do they suffer physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially from their victimization, but they are also often burdened by the complexity of the criminal justice system.
Why should we talk to scam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. victims about victimization and all that it brings to their lives in the short term and the long term?
It is important to talk to scam victims about the effects of victimization because it can help them understand and process their experiences. This can lead to a sense of empowerment and control over the situation, which can help them move forward. Additionally, discussing the impact of the scam can help identify and address any negative short-term and long-term effects on their lives, such as financial loss, emotional distress, and mistrust. In this way, talking to scam victims about their experiences can also help to prevent future scams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. by raising awareness about common tactics and warning signs.
Why should we talk to scam victims’ families and friends about victimization and all that it brings to their lives in the short term and the long term?
It is important to talk to the families and friends of scam victims about the effects of victimization because they can play a vital role in supporting the victim during this difficult time. It can also give them a better understanding of what the victim is going through and how they can help. Additionally, discussing the impact of the scam with the victim’s family and friends can help them identify any negative short-term and long-term effects on the victim’s life, such as financial loss, emotional distress, and mistrust. This information can help the families and friends to provide necessary emotional support and assist in the recovery process. Furthermore, talking to families and friends can help raise awareness about common tactics and warning signs, which may prevent them from being scammed themselves or even help them to detect if the victim is being scammed again in the future – which is not uncommon.
WHAT IS CRIME?
Crime occurs when someone breaks the law. Each country has its laws that define what is unlawful – what is a crime. When someone commits an act that is a violation of the Law, they may be charged with a crime and arrested.
Some crimes are against property (for example, break and enter and fraud) and other crimes are committed against persons (for example, physical and sexual assault). Some crimes involve both property and people. Some crimes are against a person’s physical body and some are against them psychologically.
All crime is serious and should be treated as such. It is important to remember that even a relatively “minor” crime can be devastating to a person’s life.
That means that every crime must be reported to the police!
People try to avoid victimization by being aware of their surroundings, having safety plans, and perhaps even taking self-defense classes. Having a safety plan is a good idea, but it cannot guarantee personal safety. Keep in mind that most people are victimized by people who are known to them, not strangers.
This also breaks down when crimes happen outside of the physical world, online, or by phone. But these crimes can have just as much impact as a physical assault.
Who Is A Crime Victim?
A victim of crime may be defined differently depending upon in which country you live. For the purpose of preparing a victim impact statement (which we will talk about elsewhere), a victim is defined as:
- the person to whom harm was done or who suffered physical or emotional loss as a result of the commission of the offense; and
- family & friends can, in some cases, also be considered a victim
In general, crime victims are those people most directly affected by crime. Even if an offender is never found, the person who has been victimized should still be considered a victim. It is a myth that if no offender is caught, then no crime or victim exists.
Family members, friends and others who care about the victim may also be affected when a crime is committed. These people, along with the victim, may need information and support.
How Does Crime Affect People?
Crime affects everyone differently. Victimization often causes trauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. and depending upon the level of trauma that a person has already experienced in their lifetime, crime can be devastating. In general, victimization often impacts people on an emotional, physical, financial, psychological, and social level.
The Emotional Impact of Victimization
All of these topics are discussed in more detail in other articles here on this website.
Shock, Disbelief, and Denial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.
Initially, victims may find it difficult to believe they have become a victim of crime. They may even pretend that it did not happen at all. These reactions can last for a few moments or they may be present for months and even years. It is not uncommon for victims to assume a ‘childlike’ state and may even need to be cared for by others for some time. It is also common for victims to feel as though the crime occurred when they were in a dreamlike state.
Once the initial shock of the crime has worn off, victims may experience other emotions such as anger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam.
A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically.
Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability., fear, frustration, confusion, guilt, shame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness., and grief. These emotions are normal, and victims should find professional victims’ assistance and counseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes.
A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists".
SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. if at all possible.
Anger or Rage Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam.
A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically.
Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability.
Victims may be angry with God, the offender, service providers, family members, friends, the criminal justice system, or even themselves. Many victims experience strong desires for revenge or to get even. Hate may even be felt by victims. These strong emotions are often disapproved of by the rest of society, which can leave the victim feeling like an outcast. It is certainly justified for victims to feel anger toward the person or people who harmed them, but extended anger over a long period should cause concern – the victim should seek professional help if their anger lasts more than 4 or 5 weeks.
Fear or Terror
It is common for victims to feel terror or fear following a crime that involved a threat to one’s safety or life, or to someone else a victim cares about. This is often the case when scams end too!
Fear can cause a person to have panic attacks if they are ever reminded of the crime. Fear can last for quite some time following the commission of a crime and under certain circumstances, it can become debilitating. Fear or terror that becomes overwhelming is unhealthy and victims should consult their family physician or other professional about it as soon as possible.
Many victims are frustrated by the feelings of helplessness or powerlessness that surface when the crime takes place. This can be especially true if victims were unable to fend off an offender, call for help, or run away. Also the case after scams where the victim is under the criminal’s control. After the crime, victims may continue to feel frustrated if they cannot access the support and information that is necessary for their healing.
Victims of crime may become confused if they are unsure of what actually happened, as crimes often occur quickly and are chaotic. Victims might also become confused while searching for answers to questions like “why did this happen to me?” It may be impossible to find out why someone else intended to hurt them.
Fortunately, for scam victims, those answers are here on our website.
Guilt or Self-Blame Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. SCARS seeks to mitigate the prejudice against victims and the perception that victims are in any way responsible for the actions of offenders or scammers. There is historical and current prejudice against the victims of domestic violence and sex crimes, such as the greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery. Scam victims are often blamed by family & friends for the crime. Scam victims also engage in self-blame even though they are not to blame.
Blaming Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. oneself is common. Many victims believe they were “in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they were foolish, gullible, or naive.” If the victim does not have someone to blame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action., they will often blame themselves. Guilt is also common when no offender is found. Later on, when reflecting upon the crime, victims might feel guilty for not doing more to prevent what happened. Lastly, some victims will experience ‘survivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com guilt’ – they feel guilty that they survived while someone else was injured or even killed. In the case of scam victims, this presents itself as guilt when they are more affected than others. Too often, family and friends may even blame the victim. Too often, society blames victims as well.
Shame and Humiliation
Sadly, some victims blame themselves, particularly victims of sexual abuse/assault or domestic violence or relationship scams A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money!
Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam?. Victims of violation – either physical or psychological, for example, have long-lasting feelings of “being dirty”, and those feelings cannot be “washed away.” Some victims even feel self-hatred because they believe that they can no longer be trusted by those who are close to them.
Grief or Sorrow
Intense sadness is often the most powerful long-term reaction to crime. It is common for victims to become depressed after a crime occurs.
The Physical Impact of Victimization
At the time of the crime, or upon discovering that a crime has occurred, victims are likely to experience a number of physical reactions. These may include an increase in the adrenalin in the body, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, shaking, tears, numbness, a feeling of being frozen or experiencing events in slow motion, dryness of the mouth, enhancement of particular senses such as smell, and a “fight or flight” response. It is also common for people to lose control over their bowel movements. Some of these physical reactions may occur immediately and others may occur after the danger has passed as trauma sets in.
Physical reactions to crime can be so powerful that they reoccur quite some time after the crime, for example with the victim’s memory of the events.
Of course, in most physical crimes there are physical injuries. However, we are going to limit our discussion about these to those that affect victims who were not physically harmed in the crime itself.
After the crime, victims may suffer a range of physical effects including insomnia, appetite disturbance, lethargy, headaches, muscle tension, nausea, and decreased or even increased libido. It is common for these reactions to persist for some time after the crime has occurred. These are usually responses to trauma.
Some victims may experience long-term side effects as a result of the crime committed against them. Other victims may experience ongoing health-related problems such as headaches, stomachaches, and emotional outbursts. Even after the physical wounds have healed (assuming there were any), some victims may experience pain or discomfort for a period of time or even for the rest of their lives.
Research evidence exists to prove that such a crime outcome has a negative effect on the long-term psychological recovery of the victim. A victim’s culture, gender, and occupation may also influence their reaction to their recovery. The reaction of others to the victim’s physical condition may also be difficult to accept or become accustomed to.
Some victims may never be able to return to work as a result of the crime. Victims who are unable to return to work or lead a “normal” lifestyle following victimization are constantly reminded of the pain and suffering they have endured at the hands of the criminal. This can cause a great deal of mental anguish, not to mention social isolation and dependency upon social assistance or crime compensation awards.
Victims who have suffered these physical effects or injuries as a result of a crime by another person may experience strong feelings of fear, anger, and bitterness. This sort of victimization is a life-altering experience that may leave victims questioning their personal safety for many years to come.
The Financial Impact of Victimization
Victims who may have money stolen through financial fraud have been financially injured.
In many cases, stolen money are never recovered. Understandably, this is very distressing to victims who may feel guilt, anger, and frustration if they are unable to recover their life savings. Fortunately, in some cases money can be recovered, but only if the victim reports the crime to local police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first..
Although the financial impact of crime is less documented than the physical, emotional or social impacts, victims may certainly incur costs in the following ways:
- Paying back debts.
- Having to give up their homes or other possessions in bankruptcy or debt collection.
- Higher insurance premiums as a result of victimization.
- Credit damage due to any loans they may have taken out during the scams.
- Installing security measures to feel secure.
- Accessing health services.
- Medical expenses.
- Participating in the criminal justice system, for example traveling to court, child care, and attending the trial.
- Obtaining professional counseling to come to terms with the emotional impact.
- Taking time off work or from other income-generating activities.
In some cases, such as cybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. where there were threats against the victim, victims may feel a need to move, a process likely to incur financial costs.
In the long-term, crime can adversely impact the victim’s employment. The victim may find it impossible to return to work, or their work performance may be adversely affected, resulting in demotion, loss of pay, and possibly dismissal.
Marital and other relationships are also likely to be affected by crime and this may have a significant effect on the family’s financial position. Many married victims of a relationship scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money!
Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? end up divorcing their spouse.
Research shows that the shock waves from victimization touch not only the victim but also the victim’s immediate family and next of kin, neighbors, and acquaintances. This holds true for the emotional and financial consequences, and the effects can endure for years or even for a lifetime. While this is to be expected in connection with offenses such as murder, torture, and rape, cyber-enabled crimes A Cyber-enabled crime is one where technology facilitates a criminal to commit a crime against an individual or a business. These are where there is a one to one relationship between the criminal and the victim. Romance scams, email fraud, and many other types of scams are considered cyber-enabled crimes. The technology used can be the Internet, a computer, a phone, or other devices. can also leave enduring feelings of powerlessness, insecurity, anger, and fear. Communities and organizations can also be victimized leading to their deterioration over time, especially in the case of any workplace-related scams or cyberattacks.
The effects of victimization hit particularly hard on the poor, the young, the elderly, the powerless, the disabled, and the socially isolated. Research shows that those already touched by prior victimization are particularly susceptible to subsequent victimization by crime.
The Psychological Impact of Victimization
It is almost impossible to predict how an individual will respond to crime. However, there are distinct patterns or effects or behaviors with cyber-enabled financial fraud.
Psychological injuries created by these crime are often the most difficult to cope with and have long-lasting effects. As crime is usually experienced as more serious than an accident or misfortune, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that loss and emotional injury have been caused by the deliberate act of another human being.
Common Reactions To Crime Can Be Split Into Four Stages:
The initial reaction may include shock, fear, anger, helplessness, disbelief, and guilt. As mentioned previously, some of these reactions may reoccur at a later stage as well, for example when attending a trial or going to a healthcare provider for therapy or treatment.
A period of disorganization may follow these initial reactions. This phase may manifest itself in psychological effects such as distressing thoughts about the event, nightmares, depression, guilt, fear, and a loss of confidence and esteem. Life can seem to slow down and become meaningless. Previously held beliefs and faiths may no longer provide comfort. Behavioral responses might include increased alcohol or substance abuse, fragmentation of social relationships, avoidance of people and situations associated with the crime, and social withdrawal. This is where trauma is starting to become noticeable.
Reconstruction & Recovery
The third stage is reconstruction and recovery, which leads to the fourth stage of normalization/adjustment/acceptance. Victims often try to come to terms with crime by longing for everything to be as it was before and to turn the clock back. In this crucial stage of recovery, victims begin to fully accept the reality of what has happened. Victims may try to reinterpret their experience and possibly find an explanation for what has happened or decide that the crime has lead to personal growth.
However, there are also false states that can appear during the recovery. These biases or resignation can lead to false feelings of healing, bad decision-making, and abandonment of the recovery process.
The boundaries between these different stages are not as clear-cut as outlined here and victims may not progress smoothly through the stages, but at times hover between them, jump forward, or regress.
The extent to which people (victims, witnesses, family members, community members) may be affected by crime will vary enormously among individuals; at one extreme people may shrug off very serious crimes with no noticeable effects, while at the other extreme people become “stuck” in a particular stage and never move on.
When a person is under great stress, as many people are who are victimized, he or she may have more difficulty than usual thinking clearly, keeping their emotions under control, staying physically healthy, or behaving appropriately in social situations. The trauma of being a crime victim can definitely impact a person’s ability to function. The impact on clear thinking is especially a problem and can cause the victim to end recovery, support, or professional care long before it is appropriate.
Becoming a victim of crime is a major stressor in one’s life. A victim may feel continuously uncomfortable or in a state of crisis. It may be difficult to restore a state or sense of balance to one’s life. As their outlook on life has changed significantly by the crime, some victims cannot ever restore that sense of balance. They may have trouble trusting others, taking part in activities they used to enjoy, and be fearful of places or strangers.
These are all reasons why professional support and counseling is so important for every crime victim!
Social Injuries & Secondary Victimization
Social injuries are those that may be caused by society in the aftermath of the crime.
They may include being treated insensitively or not receiving the services and/or information that a victim requires, especially true very often by the local police. Anyone can cause a social injury: a family member, a friend, a law enforcement officer, a prosecutor, a member of the clergy, a crisis counselor or a victim services worker.
In the case of scam victims this is most often the case with so-called instant experts – other victims that believe that because they were a victim, they are now instantly qualified to advise and direct other victims. This results in delay or avoidance of real recovery support and professional care, and increased traumatization since these tend to create anti-scam hate groups and spread substantial false information and urban legends. In fact, these anti-scam hate groups are a major reason that so few victims of financial fraud report these crimes or get the help they truly need.
Secondary victimization refers to the victimization which occurs, not as a direct result of the criminal act, but through the response of institutions and individuals to the victim. The following are a few examples of secondary victimization:
- The refusal to recognize their experience as crime victims.
- Intrusive or inappropriate conduct by police or other criminal justice personnel.
- The whole process of criminal investigation and trial (decisions about whether or not to investigate, arrest, prosecute, the trial itself, the sentencing of the offender, and his or her eventual release). This applies to the principal criminals or their accessories, such as money mules Money mules are a type of money laundering where a person transfers illicit funds through a medium (such as a bank account) to obfuscate where the money came from. There are different types of money mules including witting, unwitting, and complicit..
- The victim perceives difficulties in obtaining their victim’s rights, or balancing their rights with those of the accused or the offender.
- Criminal justice processes and procedures do not take the perspective of the victim into account.
- The difficulty victims often have to obtain professional counseling or therapy.
- Spiritual leaders may attempt to guide victims into paths of forgiveness What Is Forgiveness?
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. or accommodation before they are ready or against their wishes.
- Intrusive or inappropriate investigation and filming, photographing and reporting by the media of victims in exploitive ways. A good example of this is the abusive exposing of the fake photos of impersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. victims without clear-cut identification that they too are also victims of these criminals or consideration of their pain and suffering.
Even agencies set up to help the victims of crime, such as victim services, victim compensation systems, and mental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". institutions may have some policies and procedures that lead to secondary victimization.
The attitude of individuals is also important. Some people with whom the victim has contact (e.g. family, friends and colleagues) may wish to distance themselves from the distress of the crime by blaming the victim for what has occurred. They may view the victim’s behavior
Behavior / Behavioral Actions
Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams. as having contributed to, or even having caused, the victimization. They may deny the impact of the crime on the victim by urging them to forget about the crime and “get on with their lives.” Families can be a particularly powerful influence in this respect.
Victims of abuse of power have particular difficulty in gaining recognition of the fact that they have been victimized. The shock and loneliness of victimization can be much greater for these victims. This can lead also to victims who express their emotions in poor ways, hostility, and alienating those that are trying to help them.
What happens if there are no investigations or charges laid?
The criminal justice process begins when an offense is reported to the local police (usually, or the national police, such as the FBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud.), yet the suspect may not necessarily be charged with a criminal offense.
The police may or may not question a suspect, but that does not mean that formal charges will be brought against him or her.
If the police and the prosecutor do not believe that enough evidence exists to have the accused found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, they may not indict the accused criminal. In the case of transnational organized crime, it is often the case that the police lack sufficient information to even identify the real criminal(s), or do not have the jurisdiction to go an apprehend them (wherever they are.) Also notifying the police where the criminals are do not always result in an investigation or arrest,
If charges are not filed in your case, it does not mean that the police and prosecutors don’t believe the victim or that a crime did not take place. It may mean that there is not enough evidence to prove the charge in court, resources to investigator, or jurisdiction.
Victims understandably become very frustrated with the criminal justice system when charges are not brought against the person who caused harm to them or their family. A victim may interpret the response of the system as a letdown and become bitter, angry, and disillusioned with the entire criminal justice process. This response is not unexpected, as people believe that social institutions exist to protect them and address their needs if and when they are called upon. There is often a sense that someone “got away with it” and that “there was no justice.”
This often leads to spreading of information about how the police do nothing without bothering to understand why they may not have been able. This substantially contributes to the significantly small number of victims that report these crimes.
When A Scammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. Is Arrested
There are many reasons why victims are dissatisfied with sentencing, assuming a trial was held.
These can be:
- Plea-bargaining – negotiating for a reduced sentence
- Reducing the charges – not charging for all potential offenses
- Victims did not participate and provide victim’s impact statement
- Prison over-crowding
- Inadequate investigation and evidence gathering – either by the police or the victim
- Court or judge bias
In some cases, plea-bargaining occurs when the prosecutor and the defense come to an agreement where the accused pleads guilty. The guilty plea usually comes in exchange for a benefit such as reducing the charge against the accused or where the two sides agree upon a sentence. Plea-bargaining is often used when either the prosecutor’s or the defense’s case is weak. It is used to save both time and money, as the court system could not handle the volume of cases that come before it without the plea bargaining system. Unfortunately, some victims think this process diminishes the crime and harm done to them.
What Do Victims Need After A Crime Is Committed?
Victims need a variety of services and understanding in the aftermath of crime.
- Victims need to feel safe as crime often leaves them feeling helpless, vulnerable, and frightened.
- In addition to fear, victims often have feelings of self-blame, anger, shame, sadness, or denial. Their most common response is: “I don’t believe this happened to me.” Emotional distress may surface in seemingly peculiar ways, such as laughter (inappropriate humor.) Sometimes victims feel rage at the sudden, unpredictable, and uncontrollable threat to their safety or lives (trauma responses when triggered.) This rage can even be directed at the people who are trying to help them.
- Victims should be able to express their emotions. Victims often need to air their emotions and tell their stories after the trauma of the crime. They may also need to have their feelings accepted and have their story heard by a nonjudgmental listener. This is why SCARS invented its support and recovery process (sign up here)
- Victims may need to know “what comes next”. Following victimization, victims often have concerns about their mental stability, their recovery, impact on their lives both relationship and emotional, financial impact and resources available, their role in the investigation of the crime and in the legal proceedings that may follow. They may also be concerned about issues such as media attention or payment for health care. Victimization is stressful and knowing what to expect in the aftermath of crime can help relieve anxiety. SCARS provides this website to help answer those very questions.
What Are Crime Victim Services?
Crime victim services are programs that have been established to assist a victim through the process of acceptance and recovery, through the trauma experienced with the crime, and their interaction criminal justice system. There are essentially six types of programs typically found worldwide to provide services to victims.
Police-Based Victim Services
Several communities have established police-based victim service units/programs available. Trained personnel generally provide these services and the programs are affiliated with the local police department. Services are usually confidential and provide immediate crisis intervention to victims and their families for a specified period following a crime. Police-based services can also provide emotional support, practical assistance, general information about the criminal justice system, and referrals (such as to counselors and to SCARS.) These services are often limited to a specific time period following the crime (for example, two weeks).
Most communities with courthouses have prosecutor or court-based services such as Victim/Witness Assistance Programs. Such programs are designed to help enhance the understanding and participation of victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system. The program may provide victims with courtroom orientation, information regarding the criminal justice system, information specific to their case, such as bail, probation conditions, etc., court accompaniment and referrals to community agencies for counseling and other support services.
Prosecutors are often the keepers or gateways to what financial support services exist. In the United States the state Attorney’s General has victims’ advocates offices that help victims with a variety of services and benefits. Each country is different and victims will need to explore what services are available.
These can include women’s assistance centers, sexual assault centers, distress centers, victim advocacy groups, and safe homes.
The fourth type of service involves a system-based approach and provides a broad range of services from one location.
Most major cities and towns use either police-based, prosecutor/court-based or community-based approaches (or a combination thereof) for service delivery. A few of the smaller locations use a hybrid of these approaches.
In many places, local religious organizations provide services to crime victims. Catholic Archdiocese often has such services, but even local churches can help with counseling and other assistance. Victims are encouraged to contact their church, synagog, mosque, shrine, or temple to explore what help is available.
Crime Victims Assistance NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations (SCARS)
SCARS is a crime victims’ assistance nonprofit organization (NGO) that supports the victims of cyber-enabled crime A Cyber-enabled crime is one where technology facilitates a criminal to commit a crime against an individual or a business. These are where there is a one to one relationship between the criminal and the victim. Romance scams, email fraud, and many other types of scams are considered cyber-enabled crimes. The technology used can be the Internet, a computer, a phone, or other devices. worldwide. There are less than 5 of these organizations across the globe, but they provide very uneven services, except for SCARS.
Just because an organization is a nonprofit does not mean that they truly understand victims’ needs or how to aid them in their recovery. Most focus on avoidance education or helping the victim to discover if they are a victim. SCARS is the only provider with a complete recovery program based upon one-hundred-plus years of recovery science and research, with over 12,000 victims having passed through their support & recovery process. To provide such services the provider should have the training and certifications needed to perform these services: trauma-informed Trauma-informed care shifts the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” A trauma-informed approach to care acknowledges that health care needs to have a complete picture of a patient’s life situation — past and present — in order to provide effective care services with a healing orientation. Adopting trauma-informed practices can potentially improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. care, grief counseling, life coaching, recovery programs, suicide prevention, and crisis support – SCARS has all of these and more. Others do not.
Recovering from Victimization
Putting the pieces of one’s life together following a crime can be a complicated task. It is often an emotional process filled with ups and downs. For most victims, a new sense of equilibrium can eventually be reached, but this process can be time-consuming and difficult. For most victims, support groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers. (such as SCARS offers for free) and counseling are necessary.
The healing process is slow and can be complicated by family, friends, and unprofessional support groups who may not show understanding. Asking why the victim has not “gotten over it yet” or when he/she is going to “put it behind her and get on with the rest of her life,” are some examples of insensitive remarks that are often made to victims in the aftermath of crime.
It is often made worse by the victim’s own poor moderation of their emotions and turning against those trying to help them.
It is possible for the recovery process to involve the following long-term crisis reactions:
- Health problems related to the stress of the victimization (i.e., headaches, high blood pressure);
- Eating problems (not having an appetite, eating too much, feeling nauseated);
- Sleeping problems (insomnia, nightmares); and
- Relationship problems (being cranky and irritable, not being able to trust others).
- Emotional and mental health disorders Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors.
These reactions can last for years following a crime. They are all normal responses for people who have survived a traumatic event.
Memories of the crime can trigger A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience. long-term crisis reactions (triggering.) When memories are reawakened, it can be as painful as the original crime, and at the same time, be confusing for the victims.
Reminder events will vary with different victims but may include:
- Seeing the offender again.
- Sensing (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting) something similar to what the victim sensed during the crime.
- Media coverage of the crime or similar crimes.
- Anniversaries of the crime.
- Holidays or significant life events.
- Going through the criminal justice process.
- Going through civil proceedings.
- Being reminded by family or friends.
The intensity and frequency of these crisis reactions (triggers A trigger is a stimulus that sets off a memory of a trauma or a specific portion of a traumatic experience.) usually decrease over time. Patience and time are important factors in the healing process. A victim’s cognitive state and the familial and social supports available to them will also greatly influence their recovery.
Working for Positive Change
Many victims have chosen to speak out and help others who may become victims of crime by advocating for changes to laws, joining support groups as counselors or storytellers or working within the victim services sector. Doing so has allowed many victims to feel as though they are contributing to society following their victimization. For many victims, destructive, unwanted victimization has given rise to highly motivated efforts to make our communities safer and more secure.
Just because someone is a victim does not mean that they know anything about how to properly help other victims! In fact, the only thing they do know is how to be a victim. Any victim that wants to help others must first go through their own recovery, otherwise, it is just an attempt to avoid their own recovery and add control in their own lives.
It is important that any victim that wants to help other victims be fully recovered, monitored, or mentored by a real support and assistance provider, be well trained and certified, Otherwise, the damage they can do to other victims can be significant. SCARS provides training and certification programs for its volunteers and those that want to assist scam victims.
It is important to remember that victims do not choose to be victimized. Victims do not choose to be violated. Crime is not the victim’s fault – they are not to blame. The criminal made the decision to victimize the victim.
Becoming a victim of crime is a horrific, unpleasant, and unwanted life experience at best. The impact of criminal victimization is serious, throwing victims into a state of shock, fear, anxiety, and anger. The emotional, physical, psychological, and financial ramifications of crime can be devastating to victims. Coping with and recovering from victimization are complex processes.
Sadly, some victims may never be able to do so.
Many victims turn away from help, assistance, and support that could help them!