House break-ins leave ‘legacy of fear’

VICTIM support groups are on a daily basis dealing with the trauma caused by a hike in house break-ins.

The National Crime Victims Helpline said burglaries affected all family members, including children, and left behind a “legacy of fear”.

The charity made the comments after carrying out an evaluation of recent crime statistics, which showed there had been increases in three crime categories: burglary, theft and fraud.

The Central Statistics Office figures show that burglary and related offences rose by 8.5% in the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.

The charity said that more than 27,000 people had been affected by this type of crime in the first three months of this year.

“It seems that our current economic circumstances may be leading to an increase in burglary, theft and fraud,” said Maeve Ryan, co-ordinator of the helpline. “These crimes can be hugely stressful for many people and there can be also be significant loss of cash and other goods.”

She said that while these crimes are often considered “less serious” the effects are often serious and prolonged for the people who have to cope with the aftermath.

“At Crime Victims Helpline we hear every day about the shock and the anxiety that follow a break-in to the family home. Usually all the family members, including children, are affected by this crime and the legacy of fear and vulnerability which it leaves behind.

“When the crime involves threats or use of violence the emotional upset or trauma is likely to be even more severe.”

She said the National Crime Victims Helpline provided an opportunity for people who were feeling isolated, anxious, angry, sad, nervous and afraid as a result of a crime to find emotional support on the phone.

She said other people may have questions about the justice system, or require information on services for victims of crime.

“We encourage anyone who has become a victim of crime to talk about the incident to someone — and if some independent assistance is required the Crime Victims Helpline can help,” said Ms Ryan.

“We deal with and assist people every day who are experiencing emotional and practical difficulties, as a result of a crime.”

lThe National Helpline number is free phone 116 006. The number for texts is 085 1337711.

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