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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 01:36 GMT 02:36 UK
Warning over repeated burglaries
Burglary scene. Photo courtesy of Victim Support
The effects of burglary can be long-lasting, says the charity
One in four burglary victims have had their homes targeted again, a survey has found.

Victim Support found 61% of victims were at home when they were burgled and 10% saw the intruder in their home.

The charity said burglaries were decreasing but their effect could be traumatic. A spokesman said the "re-victimisation" was a concern.

It surveyed 545 burglary victims in England to see how it could improve on the scope and quality of its services.

The research, jointly carried out by insurers Direct Line, questioned people in South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Sussex who had been referred to Victim Support by police.

Peter Dunn, head of research and development at the charity, said: "This research tells us that the effects of burglary on victims can be traumatic, wide-ranging and long-lasting.

"We can give victims emotional support, practical help and information to help them come to terms with the experience of being burgled."

When I opened the door to the dining room, the burglar was standing in front of me
Servjeet, burglary victim

Victims most often wanted the police to update them on their case - 39% of respondents - with 28% saying they wanted advice on improving security.

Emotional effects

One reason for repeat burglaries was that many victims were on low incomes, living in flats and on estates which could be more easily targeted, a spokesman said.

Lack of contents insurance could also add to problems, he added.

While 22% of respondents wanted to talk directly to someone about the crime, 60% said overall they felt emotionally affected "very much" or "quite a lot".

When one victim, Servjeet, of Bradford, confronted a burglar in her own home before he ran off. But she has been left fearful in her own home and grateful for the charity's support.

"When I opened the door to the dining room, the burglar was standing in front of me," she told researchers.

"I screamed and my husband came downstairs quickly, because he thought I was being attacked.

"For six months, I was afraid to go downstairs at night. I still haven't got over the burglary. Every night before I go to bed, I put the chain across on the door and check the alarm."

Mr Dunn said contact with burglary victims had fallen in recent years due to lack of resources.

Victims of crime have to be told about or referred to Victim Support as part of the Home Office's Victims' Code of Practice.

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