The impact on the wellbeing of victims of crime who suffer from an anxiety condition or any similar form of mental illness should be considered when sentencing tariffs are being set, a charity has said.
Anxiety disorders charity Anxiety UK spoke out after hearing how the victim of a common assault who suffered from agoraphobia has found it almost impossible to leave his home as a result of being attacked.
The young man, who struggled with agoraphobia and anxiety before the attack, says he has now lost all confidence in going out and is unhappy with the sentence handed down to his attacker.
Anxiety UK’s CEO, Nicky Lidbetter, said: “For anyone who is the victim of an unprovoked attack in any circumstances it is a dreadful experience. However, for someone who is already struggling with anxiety-related issues such as agoraphobia and being outside of their comfort zone or safe space – most often their home – the impact can be even greater.
“The psychological damage and impact on a victim of crime in these circumstances can be extremely severe and could potentially set them back months if not years in their treatment and management of their condition.
“It begs the question whether is there any flexibility or lee-way for the courts in terms of a victim’s personal circumstances when they are deciding an appropriate sanction for the perpetrator that takes account of those additional factors? And if not should there be?”