Victim Services of York Region | Resource links
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Resource links

VSY works collaboratively with many agencies to create a seamless approach to victim’s issues. Some of these agencies are listed under links and organizations. One of the cornerstones of providing good client service is the systematic and consistent connection of a person requesting services to the appropriate resource for continuum of services.

Responses to Trauma

Understand the stages, impact, and reactions when a person is responding to trauma.

Impact Stage:

  • Shock
  • Overwhelmed
  • Helpless

  • Numb – disconnected from body
  • Immobilized
  • Denial

Degree of impact depends on:

Stress Management Skills: The stress management skills of the client may effect how they respond to crisis. If they do not handle stress well, the client could become overtly emotionally and physically distraught.

External Stress Factors: External stress factors may influence the degree of impact on a person. For instance, the more additional stress one has in their life can directly affect an individual emotionally and/or physically (i.e. got divorced a month ago, lost their job 2 weeks ago and is now dealing with being assaulted).

Reactions to Trauma / Crisis may include:

  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Eating Disturbances
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Tension
  • Shakiness
  • Jumpy
  • Chest Pain
  • Skin Disorders

  • Numbness
  • Crying
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Nervousness
  • Confusion

  • Recurrence
  • Seeing Images
  • Unfocused
  • Forgetful

  • Taking Extra Safety Measures
  • Doing Nothing
  • Keeping Busy
  • Staying Away From Scene
  • Not Wanting To Separate From Friends And Family

Recurrence Stage:
  • Rollercoaster of Emotions
  • Irritability, Hyper, Alertness
  • Trigger Events, Sights, Sounds
    Extra Safety Precautions

Cope As An Individual

Learn how to deal with tragedy personally, physically, and psychologically.


  • Honour the increased need to monitor safety for self and others’ – your world view has changed by what you’ve experienced
  • Strengthen “outside” life – enlarge personal world through friendships, family relationships, interests and activities
  • Develop individual personal coping strategies: physical exercise/workouts, hobbies, sports, quiet time, leisure activities (walking, canoeing, gardening, music)
  • Choose activities that do not remind you of the trauma/ crisis: non-violent movies, time-out from news reports/newspapers, friends who are not in the same field

  • Create a non-abuse/violence-free space
  • Take breaks!!!
  • Learn not to take on the issues of others
  • Learn to say “NO” – know your limits – know when you need a break/downtime
  • Develop outside supports
  • Balance time for work/family/self
  • Spend time with “Nature” – even pets are known to be stress-reducers
  • Have some FUN – use humour/laugh


  • Listen to your body – pay attention to muscle tension, headaches, stomach distress, sleeping/eating/drinking patterns
  • Release body tension – stress creates an adrenaline response and most of our stress does not require physical activity (flight or fight), therefore it is necessary to release muscle tension for the body to return to normal: run relaxation exercises, tai chi, yoga, etc.

  • Good nutrition, especially when you are particularly stressed
  • Rest/sleep


  • Make efforts to label what you are experiencing and how it is affecting you – gnawing sensations and tension need to be examined for what they are trying to tell us. Naming the anger, sadness, cynicism, helplessness, the tragedy/atrocities, the frustrations, helps us in beginning to deal with our experience

  • Re-establish hope – identify the “positives” in your life
  • Establish areas of control in your life (not in relationships however!)
  • Consciously work on your own self esteem/self image/self worth

Useful Links

External links to services on getting help such as Children’s Aid, legal services and financial assistance.

Alcohol, Drug and Other Addictions
Children and Family Sites
Court and Legal Services
Domestic Violence
Emergency Needs
Employment Assistance
Financial Assistance
Grief and Bereavement
Law Enforcement
Mental Health
Senior Citizens
Sexual Assault
Victim Assistance