Information for carers
It is common to have a wide range of feelings when you find out that someone you care about is a victim of a crime. You may feel shocked, angry, confused, guilty, sad frightened, overwhelmed and much more. Remember that these feelings are normal reactions to an unexpected and unwanted event.
Be aware of your own needs and feelings. Remember that your reactions will, likely impact upon the person you are supporting. It is therefore, important to look after yourself and get the support you need in order to care for others.
You may have lots of questions that you want answered, or you may be confused about your feelings. It may help to talk to someone. This may be a friend, family member or a counsellor. It is however, important to remember the privacy and wishes of the primary victim.
You may wish to let your local carer support service know that you may need some extra help, including respite.
More information is available through the Carers Association of SA or any of the services listed under “Carers Support” in the White Pages of the phone book.
What can I do?
Like any victim of crime, a person with a disability who is a victim may feel especially powerless, vulnerable and afraid. The way you respond can help victims cope with the trauma of the crime and restore a sense of security and control over their lives.
- Believe him/her and tell him/her that you do.
- Reassure him/her that it is a good thing that he/she has told someone
- Stress that it is not his/her fault
- Tell him/her that there is nothing to be ashamed of
- Help him/her to feel both physically and emotionally safe
- Respect his/her right to make his/her own decisions about what to do
- If he/she would like, help him/her to access support such as a from a counsellor
- Ask them how they want to be supported. Don't just assume what you do is okay or right for them.
Sexual assaults and abuse
The topic of sexual abuse is hard for families and carers to deal with. The following resources have been developed by the Government of South Australia and aim to help keep children and young people with disability safe.
Disability Justice Plan
The Government of South Australia has developed a Disability Justice Plan in order to make the criminal justice system more accessible and responsive to the needs of people with disability. The plan has been developed in close consultation with people with lived experience of disability, and seeks to strike a balance between the need to support vulnerable people in the giving of evidence, and the fundamental right of every accused person to a fair trial.