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ADVAS / Natural Supports  / Booklet  / What we learned about Evolving Needs


What we learned about Evolving Needs

In early 2022, ADVAS reached out to the community for help understanding what assistance was needed, when it was needed, and how natural supports could be strengthened to be more effective for people who have experienced crime, tragedy, or loss.

This is a snapshot of some of what was learned.

Zero People (those who had experienced crime, tragedy, and loss, as well as those who supported them) felt as though there was adequate information and support available for natural supports.

With this resource, we are trying to change that for many people. But you have an important role to play, too. You need to read this information. You need to go online to to see the resources that are currently available. And you need to reach out for help if you‘re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of support for yourself.

Seeking Answers: People who experienced crime, tragedy and loss often advocated for themselves and sought answers to their questions without support. Here is where they looked:

Web search / websites67%
Asking a doctor / clinician67%
Asking a police officer67%
Phone book / 41122%
Social media45%
Asking family or friends45%
Employment benefits35%
Asking a lawyer45%

100% Want better access to information

Helping is hard, and it’s made even harder when finding the information you need is a challenge. That’s why ADVAS has an easy-to-use, simple-to- navigate, regularly updated resource directory at

Evolving needs

After the incident, what did you need from your supports and what did you receive?

Needed but Not Received

Emotional Support22%22%44%
Emotional Closeness44%22%56%
Understanding of what happened and what happens next67%56%11%
Legal and/or court support44%33%22%
Medical support33%33%22%
Psychological support89%67%56%
Financial support67%67%67%
Information, advice, suggestions, directions44%56%22%
Time with a specific person(s)33%11%22%
Social support33%11%22%
Employment support (ie: leave of absence / time off)56%22%33%
Task support (ie: cooking, cleaning, etc.)44%33%22%

The table above show that support was received for most people in many facets of their recovery. However, we also see challenges over time as the situation’s urgency fades and helpers drift further away from people who have experienced crime, tragedy or loss.

Sharing their experiences, people said that they had increased unmet needs after one year versus six-months post-incident related to social support, time with specific people, emotional support and emotional closeness, conversation, and employment. They continued to have unmet needs in many areas, including financial support and psychological support. At the time, some people were receiving unsolicited advice that was not helpful.

What this tells us is that there is, in many cases, strong support immediately after an incident, and that support may not be available after a year has passed even though needs remain. This can hurt people, delay their recovery, and damage relationships.

Checking in with someone does not need to feel structured or complicated, but it should help you to understand what support is still needed. Call or visit and, in addition to asking “How are you?”, ask specific questions like “Are you getting the quality time you need with people?”, “Who do you need more time with?”, “How are you managing your emotions?”, and “How is planning for the future going?”

Remember to be thoughtful and remain supportive even after time has passed.