Devastating impact of burglary on children in Redbridge revealed
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Being a victim of crime is traumatising for anyone but being affected as a child can leave wounds that run deep into adulthood.
To help young people work through their experiences, the first dedicated children’s worker has been brought into Redbridge.
Victim Support worker Emma Bray, who will work with five to 18-year-olds, said burglary often causes emotional trauma.
She added: “It’s not the same as being assaulted on the street – you don’t always see them and they’ve been in your home.
“People don’t realise how badly it affects families.”
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One 11-year-old girl has not been able to sleep alone since her home in Ilford was burgled in February.
The house was burgled while she was out with her mum and their patio doors were shattered by the thieves.
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Emma said the family feel “vulnerable and unsafe” in their own home and have not been sleeping.
Victim Support workers have visited to give them door and window alarms to help them feel secure and Emma has been doing confidence building exercises with the little girl.
She said children often find it difficult to express their feelings, especially to adults they don’t know, and end up venting their anger or fear in other ways.
She added: “We want people to know that it hasn’t just happened to them, it happens to other people and it can get better for them.
“I would encourage all young people, as well as adults, to seek support if they feel affected as it is a very important to find a way of coping with what has happened.”
Research by security firm ADT and Victim Support found that children whose homes have been burgled are more likely to struggle at school.
Of the 53 young people questioned, one in three admitted they still suffered nightmares and nearly a third said that the burglary had knocked their self-confidence.
Many adults who had been burgled when they were younger said they still sleep with the light on and feel better with someone else in the house.
According to the Metropolitan Police’s latest figures, burglary is going down in all areas of Redbridge apart from Chadwell Heath, where extra patrols are ongoing in response to a spike in the crime.
Victim Support offers help to victims of all crimes, including assault, domestic abuse and rape.
The charity is based in Woodford Green can be contacted on 020 8550 2410 or by visiting www.victimsupport.org.uk.