Children and young people - Information for parents

download a pdf copy of our leaflet about helpting children cope with crim

Children and young people can be equally upset by crime and can have different reactions. Some common types of crime against children are theft or mugging, assault, racial harassment and bullying. After a crime takes place, children can feel shock, anger, a desire for revenge, fear of going out alone, or fear of returning to where an attack took place (which could include school). Your child may also have headaches, stomach pains, wet the bed, behave differently or become withdrawn.

Young children often experience feelings of guilt, and may find it difficult to tell anyone about the crime. It is important to reassure your child that they have done the right thing by talking to you. Young people may fear that parents and carers will be angry with them for having been a victim of crime, despite it not being their fault. For many young people, this can make the effects of the crime much more serious.

Children can also be affected by crimes committed against other people, for example their parents, or against family property. When this happens, they, and those around them, may not realise that their problems are related to crime. If you don't talk about the crime, they may wonder why nothing has been said and this may confuse or frighten them.

As you know your child best of all, you will know the best way to help them recover. It is important to be sensitive to their needs and feelings and let them develop at their own pace when they start to get back into old routines and activities.

Our volunteers can talk with you in confidence and provide information on practical help and reporting the crime, if this is what you want. We normally only see children under 16 with the permission of their parents or carers.

You may also like to look at our leaflet on helping your child cope with the effects of crime.

Child witnesses

If your case is going to court, Victim Support's Witness Service can help children, you and other family members, to understand and cope with the experience. Should your child need to be a witness, a special information pack is available from the police.

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Victim Support is a member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

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