Experiencing a crime can challenge your child’s sense of security and their predictability of the world. A child’s response to a crime will depend on a range of factors including their age, development, personality and the impact on their parents or significant others. Your child may not react in the ways you expect.

Possible reactions:

  • Withdrawal
    Your child may display a loss of interest in activities, a loss of confidence or may regress to more ‘babyish’ behaviours
  • Anxiety
    Your child may experience trouble sleeping, separation anxiety, irritable behaviour or an increase need to be close to you
  • Physical Symptoms
    Physical symptoms may include headaches, stomach aches, difficulty breathing
  • Some children may seem to cope well at first, but can experience reactions to the stress days, weeks or even months later.

Tips to help your child recover:

  • Create a Culture of Communication
    Reassure your child that they are safe and the event is over.
    Allow your child to voice their concerns and listen to what they have to say.
    Discuss how people react to traumatic experiences and remind them that how they are feeling is normal.
  • Your Response to the Event is Important
    Be understanding and recognise that behavioural changes may be your child’s way of dealing with the stress of the event.
    Talk about your feeling’s in an age appropriate way with your child and allow them to share their feelings too.
  • Increase your Child’s Sense of Control
    Increasing your child’s sense of control may help them to recover and gain greater confidence after a traumatic event. Even
    simple choices such as what shoes to wear out, or what filling they want on their sandwich make children feel more in control.
  • Remember that Everyone Reacts Differently to Events
    Don’t expect your child to react the same way you do, or even the same way as a sibling.
  • Maintain a Family Routine
    Keep your regular routine as much as possible, the predictability of a routine can be reassuring for children.
  • Allow Time for Fun
    Allow your child plenty of time for fun and enjoying recreational activities.
    Involve your child in physical activity to help burn off stress chemicals and improve sleep.
  • Help your Child Physically Relax
    Warm baths, massage, story time and cuddles may help to promote relaxation.