Being attacked is a scary and highly upsetting experience. Once when I was younger I was attacked in the street and while nothing was stolen I was badly hurt and had to have stitches in my face. Fortunately I was able to keep my cool enough to respond in a way that helped me to minimize the damage (well ‘keep my cool’ is debatable, but I at least survived the ordeal) and I haven’t had any lasting psychological trauma. Of course though there were things I could have done better too, here we will look at how to respond if you’ve been attacked to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Get to Safety
When I was attacked I was with friends who had all become scattered, so my number one priority I felt at the time was to find them and make sure they were okay. That’s debatable of course as you risk missing each other, but what is important is to make sure that you get to safety either on your own or as a group. Get away from the situation and make sure you aren’t exposed to further aggravation if you look like an easy target. If you can get indoors then this is a great way to not only stay safe but also to get into the warm and find help. In a serious situation it might be worth knocking on a stranger’s door – they may be able to help you.
Next you need to make sure you address any wounds that can be tended to immediately. Try to stop any bleeding with a tissue or a torn piece of clothing. Elevate anything that looks swollen, and make sure you sit down to avoid feinting. If possible, a hot drink with lots of sugar will help to treat shock and replace some blood sugar you may have lost.
Take a note at the time of your surroundings and try to keep a fresh account of details in your mind – this may come in useful later. Taking photos of yourself and your surrounds can help too.
Step 2: Call the Authorities
Next you need to make sure that you call the authorities or get someone else to. This should be the police in order to report the crime (again this is important for later) and first aid to help address any injuries. If necessary you should call an ambulance to get you to hospital.
When you speak with the police you will need to make sure that you recount the events as accurately as possible, and you should get a crime reference number that will come in handy if you want to press charges. You may encounter the police on the scene or at the hospital, but either way you should make sure they take statements from any witnesses as these will help you if the matter comes to court.
Step 3: Pursue the Matter
Now if someone has attacked you they deserve to be punished and you deserve to be compensated. It is thus important that you attempt to pursue the matter legally and this should mean finding yourself a criminal lawyer and going back to the scene may be useful. If there is CCTV in the area for instance then you may be able to use this as evidence, while you might also be able to collect evidence from witnesses.
You may also find that various schemes and organizations exist to provide financial compensation which might help you should you have had to take time off of work etc. If they contact you after the event then listen to them and they will help you to get compensation and counselling/help if necessary. Even if you recover physically you may find that you are left with fear for going outside and other psychological repercussions so it is worth at least speaking to someone if the opportunity is presented.
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