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After an Act of Violence

When you witness violent, threatening, or suspicious behavior

  • Immediately move away from the incident.
  • If you hear about an incident on campus, please stay away from that area.
  • Dial 9-1-1 to contact the Virginia Tech Police Department.

If you are experiencing a crisis and need someone to talk to, call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or 1-800-799-4899 for TTY.

As soon as you are safely away from a violent or threatening encounter

  • Have injuries treated by a medical professional.
    Small wounds may be washed with soap and water and then bandaged to reduce the risk of infection. Replace bandages if they become soiled, damaged, or waterlogged.
  • Remain calm.
    Pace yourself. You may find yourself in the position of taking care of other people. Listen carefully, and deal patiently with urgent situations first.

Coping with emotions

You may be surprised at how you and others feel after a disaster. It can stir up a variety of unanticipated feelings, and they are as important to address as bodily injuries, damaged homes, and possessions. Almost everyone is apt to be upset. People may fear that the worst isn’t yet over. They may worry about their safety or that of a loved one. They may feel shock, disbelief, grief, anger, or guilt. Memory lapses, anxiety, and depression are also possible. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and may need extra attention. It is important to calmly let them know that they are safe and that you will help. Reassurance from a competent adult can help people recover more quickly and completely.

Some basic steps you can take to meet emotional needs:

  • Try to return to as many of your normal routines as possible.
  • Get rest and drink plenty of water.
  • Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of the incident, especially on television, the radio, and in the newspapers.
  • Focus on the positive.
  • Recognize your own feelings.
  • Reach out and accept help from others.
  • Do something you enjoy, like familiar get-togethers in the past.
  • Stay connected with your family or other supporters.
  • Realize that recovery can take time.

If you have more questions or observe behavior in your dependents that concerns you, contact a counselor or community professional for additional information and help.

See Emergency Support Contacts for assistance.

For more information on how to react to an act of violence, see: