Parents urged to reassure children after a burglary

Burglaries can be “particularly devastating” for families and parents need to help their children feel safe again in their homes, according to a leading victims support group.

Crime Victims Helpline said it was important that children were allowed talk about their feelings after a break-in.

Its report for 2014 shows that burglary and theft account for 29% of calls — the biggest single crime category for callers.

The report also shows harassment and intimidation related-calls increased last year and accounted for 20% of appeals for assistance, third behind assault.

“Many people understand how an assault can be traumatising to a victim but may discount the serious impact of crimes such as burglary and theft,” said Michele Puckhaber, helpline co-ordinator.

“When your home is burgled or there has been an attempt to break in, people can experience strong emotional reactions, or feel a loss of control. Your home is the place where you expect to feel safe. A burglary can take away from feelings of safety and control.”

She said burglaries can be “particularly devastating” to parents and children.

“It is important that children are provided with the opportunity to ask questions and talk about their feelings after a burglary. Adults should do whatever they can to help children feel safe again in their home.

“This may mean temporarily changing the sleeping arrangements, leaving lights on, or adding security.”

Ms Puckhaber said some parents may believe that not talking about it would be better for the children.

“There might be an idea that if you don’t talk about it they will forget, but they are thinking about it and can affect their ability to sleep or may affect their behaviour.”

She said more callers were complaining of harassment.

“They are having things thrown at their homes, or their homes are being vandalised, getting shouted at, or they are getting phonecalls or emails,” she said.

Helpline: 116006, text 085 1337711, or email info@crimevictimshelpline.ie


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