An unsolved, undetermined, or unprosecuted crime, such as a homicide or missing person, can have compounding effects on the trauma endured. Many times, victims/survivors of childhood abuse or sexual violence don't report the events they have suffered, leaving these as unprosecuted crimes as well.
Crimes that are unresolved by law enforcement are particularly challenging, leaving victims with no access to justice and often feeling voiceless.
Often, survivors of unsolved or undetermined crime experience
- an inability to believe what has happened or an intense denial when little to no evidence is available
- carrying guilt or feelings that they could have prevented the event
- intense fear that the perpetrator could revisit or commit the crime again
- overwhelming anguish and despair at not knowing the whereabouts of their loved one
- bursts of rage or unmanageable emotions sometimes linked to cases running cold, bursts of new leads, and ongoing disappointment
- distrust of strangers, or even loved ones
- distrust of the justice system
- feelings of helplessness and powerlessness
- overwhelming grief or inability to mourn due to a lack of burial or final resting place
Supportive services remain available, even when the justice system cannot provide service.
- Therapy, support groups and peer to peer counseling can be located. (This varies by area; see resources below for recommendations.)
- OVA offers a free support group for all crime victims, aimed at understanding the impact of trauma. Learn more here.
- County crime victim services can often refer to local programs.
- OVA's call center is available with trauma informed professionals who can provide support.
- Crisis intervention services remain available at 800.273.8255.