I’ve witnessed a crime

When a crime happens, lots of people are affected.

This can include friends and family of the person who something has happened to, and anyone who saw it happen.

If you have seen a crime happen, it’s important you tell someone about it. This can be an adult you trust, someone at Voice, or the police.


How should I feel if I’ve seen a crime?

Even if you were not hurt or involved in the event, you can still be affected. Seeing violence or criminals in action can be scary in all sorts of ways.

Common reactions include:

  • thinking a lot about what happened;
  • feeling sad, scared or worried;
  • nightmares and difficulty sleeping;
  • sickness and headaches;
  • difficulty concentrating; and
  • always feeling on edge and alert.

These reactions are normal and can continue for days, weeks or even months. If you have had bad experiences in the past, you’re more likely to be affected by another bad experience, as it can bring back memories of what happened before, even if it was many years ago.

What can I do if I’m feeling worried about something I’ve seen?

The first thing to do is to tell an adult you trust. It will make you feel better to share what you’re feeling, and they will probably be able to help you, and let you know if you need to speak to the police about anything.

Other ways you can feel better are spending time with friends and family, and people who love and care about you.

If you don’t want to talk to an adult you know, and are still feeling worried, talk to Voice. We’ve helped lots of people affected in the same ways that you may have been. It’s free to speak with us and we don’t have to tell anyone.

Why do I feel so guilty?

Feeling guilty is a common way to feel after seeing something illegal or violent. If it did not happen to you, you may think ‘why them and not me?’

You might also feel that you should have done something to help. You may have felt frightened and frozen-still while everything was happening and now you feel guilty because you didn’t help the person involved, or try to stop the crime happening.

It’s important to remember none of this is your fault – it is the criminal that is in the wrong, not you. When we try to stop things from happening, we can also get hurt. Making sure you’re safe must come first.

As time goes on these feelings normally fade. However, if they carry on, we can help them go away. Speaking with us will help you understand everything a bit more.

What if I have to go to court as a witness, or have to speak to the police?

If you have seen a crime, you may be asked to go to court or speak to the police about what you saw or heard.

The thought of this can be worrying, especially if all you want to do is to forget about what happened. But by talking to the police or going to court, you’ll be helping make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If you are worried about anything, speak to us – we can help you with anything you need, from worrying about what happened to speaking to the police.