Resources for Victims of Crime

Websites and articles for people looking for help related to abuse and other crimes.

If you think or know that someone has committed a crime against you or someone you care about, you might be looking for guidance. On this page, you’ll find organizations that can help victims of various offenses and articles that explain potentially relevant areas of law.

When looking for help as a victim of abuse, remember to consider how private your computer, Internet, and phone use are. Consider whether there's anything you can and should do to prevent someone else from learning that you’re doing research or seeking help. Some victims of domestic abuse, for instance, might use the same computer or device as the abuser or might have a phone plan that allows the abuser to see the calls they make and receive. Other kinds of technology, like home security cameras and GPS in phones and cars, can also allow for monitoring by the abuser.

Organizations and Websites That Can Help Victims

Some organizations and government units exist to help victims of abuse and other crimes, both short- and long-term. These resources can be the best way for people to find assistance. Consider whether any of the websites listed here might apply to your situation, and note that some of them offer immediate help, like a hotline number to call. These are mostly national organizations, but they can often connect you with local resources. You might also be able to find state or local resources through an Internet search.

Organization Overview
The National Center for Victims of Crime "[W]e remain the most comprehensive national resource committed to advancing victims' rights and helping victims of crime rebuild their lives. … Rather than focus the entire organization's work on one type of crime or victim, the National Center addresses all types of crime." (Office for Victims of Crime) "Designed for three audiences—crime victims, volunteers, and victim service providers— provides a wealth of resources for each, including links to websites, publications, databases, and hotlines. …. If you or someone you know needs victim assistance, find out how to get help by clicking on one of the links below."
National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) "Founded in 1975, NOVA is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing. ... We advocate for victims by connecting them with services and resources."
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) "RAINN ... is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline ... in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense." RAINN also has information for LGBQT victims of sexual and other forms of violence.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline "[P]rovides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to The Hotline ... can expect highly trained, experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information, educational services, and referral services in more than 200 languages. … We also provide support to friends and family members who are concerned about a loved one." "We make finding the right shelter and information about domestic violence easier. Instead of searching the Internet, it is all right here. We’ve painstakingly verified information on shelters in LA to shelters in NY, and every domestic violence program in between. If you or a friend is suffering from physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse or verbal abuse, this free service can help."
National Human Trafficking Hotline “The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a national anti-trafficking hotline serving victims and survivors of human trafficking and the anti-trafficking community in the United States. The toll-free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in more than 200 languages."
Immigration Advocates Network "The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) ... is dedicated to expanding access to immigration legal resources and information ... Use the options below to search for immigration legal services providers by state, county, or detention facility. Only nonprofit organizations that provide free or low-cost immigration legal services are included in this directory."

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

"The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment." The NCEA has resources and information for help with abuse.

Prevent Child Abuse America

A 501(c)3 organization "dedicated to promoting services that improve child well-being in all 50 states and developing programs that help to prevent all types of abuse and neglect." The organization lists emergency contacts for child abuse and related issues.
Stomp Out Bullying "STOMP Out Bullying™ is the leading national anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization for kids and teens in the U.S. … The STOMP Out Bullying™ Live HelpChat Line is a free and confidential help chat for kids and teens over the age of 13. It is intended to assist those who are victims of all forms of bullying and those who may be at-risk for suicide as a result of being bullied."
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline "The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 150 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices." The organization also provides prevention and crisis resources for loved ones.

Articles on Victims' Rights and Options

We have several articles that discuss the law as it applies to victims of crime. One or more of the pieces here might offer insight into the circumstances you or someone you care about faces.

Pressing Charges for a Criminal Act

An explanation of how to go about pressing and filing criminal charges against someone.

The VINE Network: An Automated Victim Notification and Information System

Learn how the VINE (“Victim Information and Notification Everyday”) network keeps victims and concerned citizens abreast of offender status and location.

Victims' Rights at Trial and Sentencing

Every state has a victim’s rights statute, a state constitutional provision that provides crime victims with certain rights, or both.

Restitution Law for Victims of Crime

Restitution is designed to compensate crime victims for their losses. Learn about the kinds of expenses and people that restitution covers.

Divorce Involving Domestic Violence

Learn more here about how to be as safe as you can when you leave an abusive relationship, about restraining orders, and about divorce and domestic violence.

How to Get a Restraining Order

The process for obtaining a restraining order varies from state to state, but the same general steps apply everywhere.

Red Flag Laws: When Someone Poses a Risk of Gun Violence

Learn about red flag laws and how to get an extreme risk protection order to disarm someone who poses a serious risk of gun violence.

Time Off Work for Domestic Violence

Information on topics like taking time off work, collecting unemployment benefits, and seeking assistance from employers (including with accommodations and restraining orders).

Legal Protections for Tenants Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

Your state law might give victims of domestic violence the right to move out early.

Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence: Can You Protect Pets From Your Abuser?

In most of the United States, domestic violence victims may get court orders to keep their abusers from hurting or threatening their pets. Laws in some states help victims gain possession of the animals.

If I Report My Permanent Resident Spouse for Domestic Violence, Will He Get Deported?

How to protect yourself when dealing with a complex legal situation.

VAWA Protection for Abused Spouses and Children

VAWA created a means for the immigrant spouse or child to "self petition" for a green card or otherwise take control of the process at a later phase—provided that the immigrant is able to prove the history of abuse.

What's Better for Children: Abused Parent Applies for VAWA, U Visa, or Asylum?

Before you decide whether to apply for VAWA, asylum, or a U visa, be sure to consider what immigration benefits your children might, or might not, attain along with you.

Filling Out Form I-751 With a Waiver Based on Abuse or Battering

How a conditional resident can apply for permanent residence without the help of an abusive spouse.

Workplace Violence: Understand and Avoid It

Facts about violence in the workplace and safety tips for employees.

Workplace Violence and Workers' Compensation

Learn what to do if you were the victim of workplace violence, and when you can sue your employer or get workers’ comp benefits.

Elder Law

Find information on topics like physical and financial abuse of older adults.

Fighting Child Sexual Abuse

Provides a look at a parent or guardian's legal options in the civil court system when a child has been the victim of sexual abuse.

Bullying and Harassment at School

What can parents do if their children are being bullied at school, on social media, or through texts? When is bullying or cyberbullying a crime?

Ten Signs You’re a Victim of Identity Theft

Your first step in recovering from identity theft is recognizing the warning signs.

How to Respond When Your Information Has Been Revealed Online

The law gives victims many tools to respond to doxxing.