The psychological impact of being robbed

Blue Tree intern Maddy Lykourgos discusses the impact of crimes such as burglary…

Breaking news stories exhibiting criminal activity continue to percolate all media making us feel unsettled at the possibility that we could be next. The thought that someone intends to do us harm as an individual can leave us feeling confused and powerless, wondering what we could’ve done to prevent it. Theft-related offences make up a large percentage of crimes reported, and statistics are disproportionally high in London. As much as the media may focus on the psychology of the perpetrator, society often forgets about those who fall victim to such crimes; their suffering can far exceed the replacement of mere belongings.

With the example of burglary, even without any personal items being taken, having a stranger in your house, without your knowledge, can feel like a violation of your space and of your security. This level of distress often causes individuals to blame themselves, perhaps for not locking a window, or double-checking that the door was bolted. This may be made worse by the loss of significant and irreplaceable items, preventing people, especially young children being assured that they can feel safe in their homes again and sleep through the night.

It is vital to remember that being burgled is not your fault. Nonetheless, the traumatic impact of a burglary can linger, even after this rationalisation. Some people may cope by taking control back and improving home security to stop it happening again. A few things that can give people peace of mind are leaving lights on when the property is vacant, double (or even triple) checking locks or pooling community funds for nightly patrol cars.

However, the extent to which this type of crime can affect us is often unexpected and underestimated. Anger, fear, vulnerability and even physical symptoms, like nausea and headaches, comprise some of the reactions to this type of trauma that people may experience. Although most people don’t suffer long-term from a crime of this sort, occasionally the emotional distress can leave you feeling symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression that may persist.

It is important that you don’t ignore these symptoms. People are all too quick to try and ‘get over it’, but it’s important to work through at a pace that suits you. Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy are just some of the ways to provide support in managing the emotional impact of crime.

If you find yourself suffering due to burglary or any other crime, get in touch with us here  for more information on how we could help your cope following your traumatic experience.