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Crime victims to be given anger management as number of offences soars

PUBLISHED: 05:56 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:59 22 February 2019

Suffolk Mind will run courses in managing anger and anxiety for people affected by crime. Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Suffolk Mind will run courses in managing anger and anxiety for people affected by crime. Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Time to change/Newscast Online

Anger management and courses in dealing with anxiety will be run specifically for people affected by crime following a huge rise in offending.

Suffolk Mind will run courses in managing anger and anxiety for people affected by crime. Picture: Time to change/Newscast OnlineSuffolk Mind will run courses in managing anger and anxiety for people affected by crime. Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Suffolk Mind already runs courses to help people manage feelings of anger and anxiety.

But the organisation applied for cash from the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund after noticing a greater demand for its help from victims of crime and others affected by offending.

It has now been given £18,409 from PCC Tim Passmore’s fund to run specifically targeted courses for a year, meaning it will be able to help 264 people over 22 programmes.

Each course will be made up of two five-hour sessions for 12 people.

Lee Harger, courses and counselling manager at Suffolk Mind, said the funding was necessary because victims of crime often show signs of anger and anxiety when trying to deal with their situations - which often affects their personal relationships and careers.

“Usually if you’ve been affected by crime you might express anger or be anxious because of what happened,” she said.

“People might be afraid to be at home if they’ve had a home invasion, or be afraid to go out on the street.

“A lot of people have been expressing their anger at work or had disciplinaries because of their anger.”

However she added: “Over the past 12 months we’ve noticed more and more people coming to us because they’ve been affected by crime.”

She said that rise in demand was down to a “combination of things”, such as Mind being seen as a trusted support service for those with mental ill health.

She added: “I think sometimes people don’t know where to go for support.

“They may not want to go down the route of Victim Support and they may want to go to an organisation with an understanding of mental health.”

But she said: “The crime rate has been going up and there have been quite a few large events that people have been affected by.”

The latest crime figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in January this year showed a 5.8% rise in overall crime in Suffolk in the 12 months up to September 2018 - with a total of 53,788 offences.

That included a 37% rise in robbery, a 12% rise in vehicle offences and an 18% rise in weapons possession.

However crime involving the use of knives fell by 15% and drugs offences fell by 7%.

Mrs Harger particularly highlighted the ‘flour bombing’ of a vulnerable woman in Bury St Edmunds last year as one that had caused widespread upset.

She added: “The purpose of these courses is for someone to have a greater understanding of anger and what are the triggers.

“It’s to come together in a safe environment and learn that anger and anxiety are normal emotions.

“It’s to learn how to take control of the anxiety and anger, rather than the other way round.”

She also said having groups of crime victims together would allow participants to speak to others who “know what it’s like to feel those feelings”.

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