Story to help child victims of burglary

Story to help child victims of burglary



A new book aimed at supporting children who are victims of crime has been published by Christchurch Victim Support. Harry and the Burglary is aimed at `under fives’ who have become distressed after a burglary.

Gray CRAWFORD, (Manager, Victim Support Christchurch), says that the story recognises that children can be very traumatised by burglary, especially if their possessions are stolen.

“We’ve published this book to allay children’s fears. Parents can also pass on their own anxieties and fears to their children. This story can be used by parents to give them guidance on how to deal with such loss.”

A recent spate of burglaries involving children was the inspiration for the book. Gray CRAWFORD says he remembers one incident clearly.

“The family car had been stolen along with a child’s school work. The child was extremely upset, especially about his school bag being stolen. We want to gently point out in our book that material things can be replaced but people and pets can not be.”

Harry is a much loved family cat who is the only witness to a burglary while the family is away on holiday. Even though family belongings are taken, Harry is safe, and delighted to see `his family’ back. The story is told by `I’, the small son who tells it from his own perspective. Not giving him a name means the child can put in their own. The pictures have also been deliberately left just as outlines so the child can colour them in to make them specially theirs.
The book was aimed at `under fives’ to allay fears of the `bogey man’ stories one tends to hear from children around this age.

The author, Pam O’Brien is a qualified primary school teacher and she and
illustrator Rodney Grey donated their talents and skills. They were given a general outline of what was needed and worked around that.

This could well be the first of a series of such books. Gray is thinking of other stories aimed at different age groups and on other topics. Coping with the trauma of suicide is his next project.

“Children often blame themselves, partly because they have no understanding of what has happened. We need to be able to give support and guidance in so many areas that I see a need for more publications.”

Harry and the Burglary will be available from Victim Support offices throughout the country at no cost.