Having a crime happen to you or a loved one can be very upsetting and disruptive, and sometimes the effects may be felt for a long time after the crime occurs.
What is burglary?
Burglary occurs when a person enters a building or part of a building without permission in order to steal something or damage property.
In some circumstances, such as if the person is carrying a weapon during the burglary or enters the building when they know someone is inside, the burglary is considered more serious and the crime will be called an aggravated burglary.
In some cases, burglary can happen as part of a larger pattern of criminal behaviours such as:
Charges related to burglary
There are a range of offences related to burglary. They include:
What can I do?
In Victoria, there are a range of services and agencies that assist victims of different crimes.
If you have experienced a burglary, you can:
Report the burglary to the police
If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime is currently occurring please call police on Triple Zero (000).
If there is no immediate danger, you can report to police by:
- calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444
- calling or going to your local police station
- using Victoria Police’s online reporting tool (for items/damage up to $5000)
- confidentially report crime to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
What will happen if a burglary is reported?
When a crime such as a burglary is reported to police, they can:
- attend the scene (for non-urgent situations this may take some time)
- secure the location (if that is appropriate), or provide advice on how to do so to make sure it is safe
- collect evidence and investigate what happened
- try to find the person who did the burglary and/or locate your missing property.
Evidence that may be needed
If your home has been broken into, it is best to report it to police as soon as you can and avoid disturbing the scene until they can tell you what to do next. This will allow police to gather as much evidence as possible.
The police may ask for your cooperation to gather evidence. This can include:
- photographs and other evidence from the location at which the crime happened
- a list of missing property describing the items.
Sometimes, if your possessions are recovered, they may be needed as evidence for the court case. The police will return them to you as soon as possible.
If someone is charged
If an accused person is found by the police, they may be charged and the justice process will start.
This website explains the justice process in Victoria. You can learn about:
- police investigations
- how charges are laid
- what happens when a case goes to court
- what you need to do if you have to go to court.
Seek compensation or return of your property
The Victorian government does not provide financial assistance for property lost or damaged because of burglary.
You may be able to:
If you have an insurance policy covering your property, you may be able to make a claim for the cost of replacing or repairing it. You may need a copy of the crime report from the police to do this. Contact your insurance company for more information.
Seek the return of your property or compensation directly from the offender
If a person is charged with taking your possessions and/or damaging your property, you may be able to apply for a court order to make the offender:
- return your stolen possessions
- pay you for what any lost, damaged or sold property is worth.
You can learn more about seeking compensation from an offender.
Learn more about protecting your property from burglary
You can take steps to make your property more secure and protect your possessions. Find out more from:
Let police know if you are going away for a while
If your home is going to be empty for an extended period, you can register with the police. Find out more on the Victoria Police website.
Deal with a neighbourhood dispute
Sometimes a dispute with neighbours may lead to the entry of someone onto your property without your permission. If you do not wish to deal with the situation by reporting to police, you may wish to consider dispute mediation. You can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria for:
- information and advice on how to deal with a dispute
- dispute mediation.
Understanding the traumatic effects of crime
Experiencing a burglary can be an upsetting and worrying experience. Everyone’s response is different, but it can be helpful to understand the common feelings and physical reactions people have and what to expect.
On this website, you can learn more about:
- common emotional and physical reactions to stressful events like crimes
- suggestions to help you with recovery
- how to help a child who has been affected by crime.
Counselling and crisis support services
24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Mental health care plan – see your General Practitioner
If you need assistance, you can see a General Practitioner and discuss your situation. You may be eligible for a mental health care plan that will assist with the cost of counselling.
Victorian Legal Aid
Victoria Legal Aid’s (VLA) Legal Help service provides free general legal information over the phone and by chat online.