Formula One star Jenson Button shared what it was like when thieves broke into the St Tropez holiday villa he was staying in with his wife and friends.
The robbers ransacked the place while Button and co. slept, and made off with his wife Jessica’s £250,000 engagement ring.
Button told The Mirror: “It’s scary stuff. It’s really not nice knowing someone was in your room going through your drawers, eight centimetres from your wife’s head.”
Even if you haven’t got £250,000-worth of jewellery stashed away, the prospect of strangers breaking into your house, and damaging and stealing property, is a nightmare scenario.
It’s not just the loss of prized and sentimental possessions, the hassle of reporting the break-in to the police and getting your locks changed that’s traumatic either. The emotional and psychological ramifications of having your home invaded can be far-reaching.
Impact on mental health
According to independent UK charity Victim Support, around 750,000 households are affected by burglaries each year.
Lucy Hastings, director at Victim Support, says: “As a charity that supports thousands of burglary victims every year, we know that people suffer far more than lost possessions when their home is burgled; there can be a lasting effect on the whole family and victims often feel violated as their home no longer feels like a safe haven.
“Our research as part of the ‘Take No More’ campaign – a campaign created to help reduce and change the way people think about burglary in the UK – revealed that one in four burglary victims say they experienced mental health issues after a break-in, such as increased anxiety or symptoms of depression.
“It’s critical that victims know we are here to support them in the aftermath of crime.”
Help is at hand
The charity’s specially trained staff and volunteers offer help and advice to people who have directly experienced or witnessed illegal activity, not just related to robberies and break-ins.
Hastings adds: “We can provide information, emotional support and practical help in securing a home after a break-in.”
Talking about what you’ve been through, and taking the necessary steps to make sure your home is as secure and burglar-proof as possible in the future, will you make you feel safer and comfortable once again in your own home.
However, if you are struggling to come to terms after more than several weeks following a burglary, seek professional counselling or medical advice.
Contact Victim Support’s Supportline team on 0808 1689 111 or visit victimsupport.org to find out more.