Three conditions that facilitate victim recovery, according to John Stein, deputy director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance:

It's essential for society to seek out and help people who have been recently victimized, says Stein. "They are not terribly likely themselves to go about finding a helping service -- and very often they do not even think they are hurting in a way someone could help."

Mental health professionals aren't necessarily needed to help victims, at least initially. "Former victims and other volunteers can be enormously helpful . . . in helping people deal with the misery that has been imposed on them."

Time is critical: "Crisis intervention by a skilled layman right after a crime or misfortune is likely to forestall the need for more extensive help by a psychologist or psychiatrist months or years later," Stein says.

National Organization for Victim Assistance, 717 D St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. (202) 393-6682 (393-NOVA).

Victims of crimes occurring in D.C., Virginia and Maryland can receive information on compensation or financial assistance for medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of support, loss of services, vocational counseling and rehabilitation from the following offices:D.C. Crime Victims Compensation Program, 1200 Upshur St. NW, 2nd floor, Washington, D.C. 20011. (202) 576-7706.For Maryland: Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, No. 1 Investment Place, Suite 701, Towson, Md. (301) 321-3364.For Virginia: Division of Crime Victims' Compensation, P.O. Box 1794, Richmond, Va. 23214. (804) 257-8686.