A single mum has told how her family is still suffering months after they were burgled – as landmark research reveals the “disturbing” impact of break-ins on children.
Sheree Taylor’s house in Tingley, Leeds, was raided as she and her two children slept upstairs.
The thief took her car, television, an iPad and clothes.
But Ms Taylor, 45, said the psychological impact went much further.
“The person who did it took a lot more than our possessions,” she said.
“They stole our sense of security. I feel like we just can’t get our life back on track.”
The thief got in through patio doors at the back of Ms Taylor’s house in the early hours of December 28 before rummaging through drawers and taking valuables including Christmas gifts.
An 18-year-old man has pleaded guilty to burglary and is awaiting sentencing.
But Ms Taylor, who has reduced her hours at the Card Factory in Wakefield to spend more time at home, said her 14-year-old son, Andrew Winkley, is still struggling.
“He’s not sleeping, we’re having to sleep with the lights on – it’s like he’s listening out for something the whole time,” she said.
“He won’t be in the house by himself, he won’t go out to play with his mates as often. I don’t know if he feels protective of me.
“I feel like I can’t do anything, I can’t go anywhere because I don’t want to leave. I’m like a prisoner in my own home.”
She said she had increased security at her home since the incident, but wouldn’t feel better until the guilty man was behind bars.
“He deserves to go away for a long time for what he has put me and my family through,” she added.
Ms Taylor spoke out as pioneering research by charity Victim Support and home security specialist ADT revealed the impact of burglaries on children.
One in four parents said their children suffered sleep problems and one in nine said they struggled at school.
A third of parents found their children’s sense of personal safety and well-being was affected and one in ten reported an increase in bed-wetting.
Adam Pemberton, assistant chief executive of Victim Support, said: “These findings paint a disturbing picture about the hidden impact burglary has on children.
“We know that this is a serious issue for tens of thousands of families across England and Wales.
“Victims tell us time and again that they suffer far more than material loss when their home is burgled.
“We believe sentencing should more accurately reflect this kind of psychological harm.”
The campaign is aiming to raise £250,000 for victims.