Being a victim of burglary has such a profound effect on some, that more than a million in the UK moved house as a result, according to new research.

Victims of burglary have also suffered physiological conditions including sleep deprivation (25 per cent) and illness (eight per cent). Some experienced psychological trauma, with six per cent losing confidence and needing counselling to cope with the trauma. More than 1 in 10 (11 per cent) victims couldn’t be home alone after their home was broken into.

The survey of 2,000 victims of burglary was carried out by Churchill Home Insurance and supported by Dr Claire Nee, a Reader in Forensic Psychology at the University of Portsmouth's Department of Psychology.

She said: “Being a victim of burglary is a traumatic experience for anyone and for some it can have a lasting emotional impact. The thought of someone in our home, our safe place, looking through our personal things can leave us feeling violated and vulnerable.

“The important thing for anyone who has been a victim to remember is that they are not on the burglar’s agenda. The burglar targets a property to enter and exit as quickly as possible with a reasonable gain and actively wants to avoid meeting the homeowner.”

Being a victim of burglary is a traumatic experience for anyone and for some it can have a lasting emotional impact. The thought of someone in our home, our safe place, looking through out personal things can leave us feeling violated and vulnerable.

Dr Claire Nee, Department of Psychology

In addition, Dr Nee conducted separate research with experienced burglars and, of those interviewed,  86 per cent reported that, if they saw or heard a victim during the commission of a burglary, they would try to leave. Three-quarters said they had abandoned burglaries because they had heard an occupant in the house or returning to the home.

Nearly half of burglary victims said the worst aspect of being burgled was the knowledge that someone had been in the home. The second worst aspect was the shock (32 per cent), followed by a feeling of violation (30 per cent) and vulnerability (24 per cent).

It takes victims, on average, three days before things feel more or less back to normal, however, for a fifth (21 per cent) they didn’t feel this way for a month and for eight per cent, this feeling took six months. One in ten (11 per cent) said things never returned to normal.

The 1.3m who moved home as a result of being burgled is based on extrapolating the 13 per cent of the more than 10m who were burgled in the UK in one year.

Dr Claire Nee's interview on the Discovery Channel

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