Burglary victims reveal depth of distress

Imagine a stranger creeping around your home and rifling through your belongings while you are out – or even worse, asleep in bed.

Imagine a stranger creeping around your home and rifling through your belongings while you are out – or even worse, asleep in bed.

It’s the stuff of nightmares. No wonder MoneySuperMarket research reveals that one in eight burglary victims never recover emotionally from the invasion of their private lives.

Burglary: the emotional impact

You might think that the main issue linked to being burgled is the financial cost of repairing any damage and replacing stolen goods – especially if you don’t have contents insurance.

But being targeted by burglars involves criminals gaining entry to your home – your safe place. That’s why being burgled is such an emotional experience.

It makes you feel extremely vulnerable, and can continue to damage you psychologically long after all signs of the crime have been erased.

In the last five years, for example, the one in five Britons affected by burglary have been left feeling:

*Angry (44%)

*Shocked (43%)

*Upset (39%)

And of those whose own homes have been burgled,

43% feel violated and 44% are scared about it happening again.

Victim Support helps burglary victims to cope with these psychological effects.

Mark Castle, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Victims tell us that they suffer far more than material loss when their home is burgled – the psychological impact of this crime can be drastic, long-lasting and different for everyone.”

“More than half report lasting emotional effects – and those feelings often last for several months, if not longer...”

Long-lasting effects

It is not unusual for burglary victims to subsequently feel uncomfortable and scared in their own homes.

More than half report lasting emotional effects – and those feelings often last for several months, if not longer.

MoneySuperMarket researchers found that people who are burgled take an average of 57 days – or two months – to get over the incident emotionally.

Even those who are only affected due to knowing someone, such as a friend or relative, whose home was burgled, feel the emotional effects for an average of three weeks.

And for one in eight burglary victims, the psychological impact of having their private space violated is permanent.

 The most common effects are:

*Feeling paranoid about home security (27%)

*Having to leave the lights on at night (14%)

*Feeling upset long-term (13%)

Those without insurance also often face an uphill struggle to find the cash to replace the items stolen.

Lessons learned

It’s hard to come up with anything good about being burgled. But one positive outcome for many victims is that they pay more attention to keeping their homes secure and their belongings safe.

Positive reactions to being burgled include:

*Paying more attention to hiding valuables (38%)

*Improving home security (27%)

*Taking out home insurance (24%)

If you’ve been affected by burglary and are struggling to cope with the emotional or the practical effects, visit http://www.victimsupport.org.uk/ or call the charity’s Supportline on 0808 16 89 111.

 

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