Most associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with those serving in the armed forces or first responders. What exactly is PTSD and what are its symptoms? Is it possible that victims of violent crime can also suffer from PTSD? If so, where can they get assistance?

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition that occurs when a person experiences or witnesses a terrifying event and has difficulty recovering after the experience. The situation may involve death, severe injury, or the threat of death or injury. When memories of the traumatic event are triggered, it can bring about severe emotional and even physical reactions.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD can include depression, anxiety, or somber moods. Someone experiencing PTSD may also experience nightmares and will often purposely avoid certain situations that may trigger their anxiety.

Can Victims of Violent Crime Suffer from PTSD?

Violent crime in the United States is defined as criminal activity where the victim is harmed by, or threatened with, violence. Violent crimes include murder, sexual assault, rape, robbery, and physical assault. Since victims or these crimes often experience recurring nightmares, suffer depression, and frequently withdraw from old friendships, they often demonstrate classic symptoms of PTSD. Violent crime victims may experience somber mood swings, exhibit anxiety, and avoid certain situations; again, all signs of PTSD. If you, or someone you care about has been the victim of a violent crime and suffers from one or more of these symptoms, you should seek help in determining whether you or they have PTSD.

Where to Get Help

Since PTSD is considered a mental disorder, assistance can usually be found through counseling. When conditions are severe enough, medication may be prescribed. Depending on the particular type of violent crime you may have been subject to, there are a variety of resources available in and throughout Evansville, Indiana, and Vanderburgh County. You can start by typing a term like “violence” or “violent crime” in the search area of If you don’t find any organization for your specific situation, contact an organization that seems to closely align with your needs, and ask for a referral. Each of the organizations is dedicated to assisting victims of crimes through advocacy programs in a variety of areas, including legal and personal assistance.

The mission of the Vanderburgh County Crime Victim Resources (VCCVR) is to promote communication between agencies and organizations within and around Vanderburgh County, Indiana, and to collaborate in proactively assisting crime victims by engagement, information, and education throughout the criminal justice system. Through VCCVR, crime victims can directly contact those organizations who can help, eliminating the middleman and saving them time in demanding situations.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of violent crime and is exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, seek assistance. VCCVR is here to connect you with the resources available in our area.