Assault victims suffer lasting fear of others

Research at Oxford University found victims' paranoia especially pronounced if their attacker was someone they knew

Victims of muggings and assaults are left with persistent feelings of paranoia that can affect their relationships with others, research has shown.

Two-thirds of those taking part in a study remained “excessively fearful” of people around them for at least six months. The feelings of wariness and distrust were distinct from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which affected 16 per cent of participants.

Victims’ paranoia was especially pronounced if their attacker was someone they knew.

The study leader, Professor Daniel Freeman from Oxford University, said: “Our mindset may become more like that of a bodyguard, vigilant for danger… It may well be a normal temporary change in our thinking after being a victim of attack.”

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