Coping with an Armed Raid
How you might be affected
What can you do?
If the crime was in your home
If the crime was in your workplace
If you are an employer
How you might be affected
Being a victim of any type of crime is an upsetting experience. There are certain effects that are commonly felt by people regardless of the nature of the crime. Most people experience a sense of shock, and a feeling of disbelief that such an incident could happen to them.
When you have been caught up in an armed raid, there are many factors which may affect how you deal with what has happened and how you cope in the aftermath of an event. You may have felt:
- You were in a situation where time seemed to stand still
- You were in a life or death situation, where you thought of your loved ones as if for the last time
- You were paralysed with fear
- You were in a robotic or trance-like state where you did what you were told to do without having any control over your actions
- That you will never again feel safe in your own home, if the crime was in your home
- Let down or angry that your employer did not do enough to prevent or protect you from something like this if the crime was in your workplace.
This kind of incident may cause trauma for you and your family or work colleagues and you can expect to feel the after-effects over the days and weeks following the incident. Your emotional reactions, while normal, may feel overwhelming.
If this happened at your home it may lead you to wonder if you should move from your home, or from the area where you are living.
If this happened at your work place you may question your relationship with colleagues and your manager or employer. You may wonder if you should take time out of work, or think about changing your job or the type of work that you do.
At this time you may be involved in the Garda investigation into the crime.
- You may have to try and remember all the details of what happened, at a time when you just want to forget about it all.
- You will probably have to make a statement to the Gardaí and you may feel stressed and anxious about this.
- There may be the possibility of a court case in the future and you may worry about having to be a witness in court and coming face to face with perpetrators.
- You may feel fearful of the difficulty of giving evidence in a court trial and being cross-examined about your evidence
What can you do?
There are many important steps that you can take to help you cope with the after-effects of this crime.
Talk about your feelings with someone you can trust – with a family member, a friend, a colleague. Sometimes it may be helpful to talk to someone who is completely outside the situation. There may be an organisation in your area which offers free and confidential support to victims of crime.
You can call a helpline such as Crime Victims Helpline which is a free and confidential helpline, 116006. Volunteers at this helpline provide emotional support and give information about other services that can help.
If your emotional state is very painful, or if painful emotions persist, it may be helpful to see a GP and get medical advice on dealing with the situation.
It may be helpful to seek professional counselling.
If the crime was in your home:
Ask a friend or family member to come and stay as a short-term measure.
Or stay with family or friends for a few days, again as a short-term measure.
If necessary take some time off work. Be gentle with yourself, and take things as easy as you can immediately after an event like this.
Ask a Crime Prevention Garda to review your security and take any additional security measures advised. You can contact your local Garda Station to find the Crime Prevention Garda for your area.
Plan a short trip or a treat you can look forward to and enjoy, if possible.
If the crime was in your workplace:
If necessary take some time off work. It may help to give yourself a little breathing space before going back to work. Returning immediately to a place where you have just had this kind of experience may be difficult.
Enquire about safety measures that can be taken to help prevent a similar occurrence. Your employer may upgrade security, or; install additional alarms, or revise work procedures to try to ensure that this will not happen again. You may be able to discuss these measures with your employer, as it is important that your opinions on what will make you safe are taken into account.
You could suggest that a Crime Prevention Garda visits the workplace, to advise on how best to provide security for all staff.
If you are an employer:
It is important to take care of yourself, as you too will probably have been affected by the incident. If you need help or support, make sure that you get it. You can call Crime Victims Helpline, which is a free and confidential helpline, on Free Phone 116006.
- For your employees it is very important to assure them that you do not consider them responsible for what happened, particularly if large amounts of money were taken. They are likely to feel some responsibility or guilt, or wonder if they could have acted differently or prevented the raid. Reassure them that they are not responsible. Try to not minimise what has happened. It is important that you acknowledge how difficult, frightening and upsetting the experience must have been.
- Your employees will benefit hugely from knowing that your priority now is their welfare and their recovery.
- Provide all your staff, including those who were not present when the raid took place, with information on support for victims of crime. And promote an atmosphere where it is natural to seek help, and where there is no stigma to accessing support.
- Be aware that each individual’s feelings and reactions will be different. While some employees may be able to laugh off the incident after a while, there may be others who continue to feel the effects long after the incident has happened. Some people may conceal their emotions, and may act as if the raid hasn’t affected them at all.
- For employees who are badly affected, it may be advisable to offer professional counselling.
- It is important to carry out a review of security after a raid and to involve all staff in this process, to listen to their concerns and suggestions. If this is done it will help employees to regain a sense of security, particularly if their suggestions are taken on board.
- The Gardaí will be able to help in this review of security, and will advise on changes that need to be made.