Binding the wound: Accompanying Victims – The Response of the Faith Community
“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds”. Psalm 147:3
What Victims Need
The truth is, survivors of crime and the loved ones of victims are living in our midst. We may not be aware of their presence, and if we are, we may not know how to act around them or help them. Nevertheless, the Bible makes it very clear that it is the responsibility of God’s people to care for those who have fallen victim to crime.
What We Can Do
- First of all, learn who the victims and their loved ones are.
- Listen to their story; they need to be heard.
- Be wary of making judgments about their legitimate feelings of anger, fear, shame, guilt, or even revenge.
- Do not ask them to forgive prematurely. Allow them time to grieve in their own way. Respect their need for privacy.
- Provide physical assistance if they request it.
- Encourage recovery groups in which victims gain mutual support from one another.
- Accompany victims and their loved ones to face-to-face meetings with offenders.
- Offer to pray with victims and their loved ones, but only if they agree; or, ask if we may keep them in our prayers.
- Respect their need to make their own decisions and to regain control of their lives.
A Prayer For Victims
Heavenly Father, It is your will that no harm should come to those you have created in your image and likeness. Hold lovingly and carefully in your arms all who have suffered at the hands of others. Console them and heal them. Bind up the wounds they have endured in body, mind, and spirit. Be with the victims who survive. Restore their dignity and remind them that they are deserving of love and respect. Welcome into your kingdom the victims who have died. They are precious in your sight. Give them peace and happiness with you forever. We ask this through Jesus your beloved Son, who died a victim but rose victorious over death. Amen.