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Four Injuries


By: the National Organization for Victim Assistance

There are various types of injuries that a victim may experience. They can be broken down into four main categories:

Physical injuries:

Involve damage to the victim’s body. Physical injuries may range from minor (bumps, scratches) to moderate (bruises, broken bones) to severe (stabbing, gunshot wounds). Some physical injuries will be visible and others will not. It may not be possible to see the physical injuries caused by a sexual assault or injuries that are covered by clothing or an injury that happens inside the brain. Do not assume that a person is not injured simply because the injury is not visible. As a result of the crime, some victims may experience health-related problems such as headaches, stomach aches, etc. A person who already has a disability may find that the disability becomes more severe after the crime. Even when the physical wounds caused by crime have healed, the victim may continue to experience pain or discomfort for a period of time.

Financial injuries:

May involve stealing of money or possessions, or damage to items that have to be repaired or replaced. There may also be expenses for medical care, counseling, transportation, child care, and time off from work to go to court. If the offender was a service provider (such as a babbysitter or Personal Care Attendant), the victim or the victim’s family may need to pay for emergency care or transportation services until a new service provider can be hired. For many victims with limited resources, these financial injuries cause a great deal of hardship.

Emotional injuries:

Are described in more detail in the section on "The Trauma of Victimization." For many victims, witnesses and their family members, the emotional injuries may be the most difficult and long-lasting effects of being the victim of a crime.

Social injuries:

Are those caused by society. A social injury occurs when the victim is treated insensitively, does not think anyone cares or is not able to get the help she needs. Anyone can cause a social injury: a friend or family member, a law enforcement officer, a prosecutor, a member of the clergy, or a counselor or other service provider, who may not believe the victim who reports a crime, may not help the victim, or may not treat the victim with dignity, compassion and respect. Social injuries are discussed further in "The Trauma of Victimization"