Emotional support for a victim of crime (UK)?
March 22, 2018 1:44 AM   Subscribe

A very dear friend in the UK has been robbed by someone they met online. They are traumatised, in shock and afraid to report it. I live on the other side of the world. Is there any support local service that could help them - or do you have other advice about how we could provide support?

A beloved friend who lived close by for many years moved to the UK to be close to family. They then moved again for work, and are now living in a city in another part of England to their family, without much of a support network.

This friend recently met someone online for a casual encounter, and as it seemed mutually agreeable they asked them back a second time. This time the person abused my friend and openly stole some of their possessions, including things that belonged to their employer. There is also a degree of threat involved. My friend does not have good mental and emotional health and has been left very traumatised and distressed. They have not reported this to the police and are feeling terribly ashamed and violated, so they do not feel strong enough to reach out to family. There are a very few people who know about this incident and we all live a very long way away.

I have come across Supportline and was thinking of suggesting it to my friend but I am not sure whether it is a good service or one of those things that "everybody knows" is no help. I would appreciate any information about whether they're any good. I'm also at such a loss about how to help my friend, who has very little money and no trusted friends living nearby. Does anyone:

A) know of any victim support, counselling or other support services which would be able to help? In particular, some kind of advocacy or mentoring service where someone can actually help them through the process should they have to report the crime (which I believe they will, as their employer's possessions are involved)

B) have any suggestions about other ways I could help?

MeMail me for details about the particular area, if you might have a region-specific suggestion.
posted by andraste to Human Relations (6 answers total)
Victim Support, who run the support line you've linked to, are good and well known.

If they're a union member, they might run a support service your friend can access.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:10 AM on March 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Supportline, as you mentioned, is probably the first port of call. I would really encourage them to report it if they can - it means insurance from their employer etc can be claimed. When I had a break-in while at home alone the police were very helpful. There may also be specific helplines based on your friend's needs eg LBQTI if applicable.

Lots of positive vibes to your friend!
posted by teststrip at 2:13 AM on March 22, 2018

Even if this isn't reported to the police by your friend, your friend absolutely has to report this to their workplace and I guess they can report if they see fit.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:48 AM on March 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Exactly what mental health advocacy services cover does vary slightly between services, but I think it would be worth approaching the local service with "this is a very stressful situation involving dealing with statutory bodies which I think will negatively affect my mental health - would I be able to get an advocacy worker to support me?". How to find the local advocacy service is at that link - you could even make email contact yourself to find out if they offer the support before passing on the details.

While you call this a "casual encounter" it has a lot of the markers for domestic abuse (initially positive becomes controlling/abusive in an intimate relationship). I don't know if you're using "they" because it's your friend's pronoun or just to keep it anon, so I'll signpost Women's Aid and Galop (LGBT anti-violence) and the Men's advice line (choose as appropriate) as being likely to give useful advice and possibly some links to local support organisations as well. (Of those three I only know of people who have had contact with Women's Aid, but they have all been extremely positive about how helpful they are - so I am hopeful the others are similarly helpful).
posted by Vortisaur at 3:03 PM on March 22, 2018

Hi all - thank you all for the suggestions, they were very useful. My friend did indeed contact Victim Support and received some help and advice from them. They are still suffering from some after-effects of the crime but doing much better as time goes on.

In an update, my friend did decide to report the crime after receiving support and advice. Recently an arrest was made, and some of my friend's possessions were retrieved by the police. They are now awaiting news about a court date and whether the perpetrator will plead guilty.

Thank you all again.
posted by andraste at 11:09 PM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

That is great news andraste, I hope you friend continues to get better. Thank you for the update.
posted by Helga-woo at 11:33 AM on May 19, 2018

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