Crime victims need their community’s support


By Caldwell County Victim Services

Each year, millions of Americans are victims of crimes. In 2022 alone, there were 6.6 million violent victimizations against people 12 or older and 13.4 million property crimes, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and the theme is “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors.”

This year’s observance is not just a time to recognize the vital work of professionals and volunteers who help victims and to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services, it’s a challenge to individuals and services across our community to create safe environments for crime survivors.

Resources are certainly out there to help victims of crimes. For example, the Texas Department of Corrections and Justice maintains the Texas Victim Resource Directory, which puts victims in touch with nonprofit and governmental agencies that provide crime services to victims free of charge. The directory can be accessed at

Additionally, The Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse is a resource and referral center for crime victims across the state. If you need assistance or want to find out what resources are available in your local area, call the toll-free hotline at (800) 848-4284 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Central Time. You may also reach a TxCVC staff at (512) 406-5931 or via e-mail at

While governmental resources and nonprofits are great, having the help of friends and family can be invaluable as well. You may not know how to support a friend, family member, colleague, or acquaintance if they tell you about a crime committed against them.

Many survivors don’t immediately — or sometimes ever — tell what happened to them. The reasons are incredibly personal. They may perceive that sharing what happened to them will only make things worse — especially in situations in which there is an ongoing threat of physical, psychological, or financial harm.

This can be an especially powerful fear if the perpetrator of the crime is a family member, friend, intimate partner, boss, religious leader, or other person who has a profound impact on the person’s daily life.

Survivors may fear that they won’t be taken seriously or that they won’t get the help they need, a feeling that can be exacerbated by cultural or language barriers or mistrust of the criminal justice system. They may worry about reprisal for reporting their victimization, either from the individual harming them or the authorities.

When a survivor does reach out, we should listen, empathize, and be prepared to help. With whom they share, how, how much, and when is entirely up to them. We can bear witness when a survivor does share. Now ask yourself: Are you prepared to help a crime survivor? If not, how will you become prepared? And if so, how will you help educate others in your community about how to be ready?

It’s a way to remind survivors that they’re not alone. And it’s a call to action that any of us could be the one who can provide potentially life-saving hope to someone who needs it.


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