Safe

Personal theft

Are you worried someone in your family is involved in stealing?

If you think your brother or sister or maybe someone else in your family is involved in something they shouldn't be, like stealing or robbery, you can help them before it goes too far.

They may not think what they're doing is that serious, but it could get them into a lot of trouble or even put them in danger. If a young person is caught stealing it is likely that they will receive a criminal record. This can affect their future in different ways - they might not:

  • be accepted into a college or university
  • get a job
  • be allowed to travel to some countries, like the United States of America

Is it bullying?

Certain types of stealing, especially from people they know, might be part of a bigger issue: bullying. If you think that may be the case, take a look at our section about bullying. Either get the facts about bullying, or for more info on how you can actually help them visit ‘Are you worried someone in your family is involved in bullying?’

What type of theft are they involved in?

It could be any one of these:

  • hiding someone's personal belongings
  • stealing from someone's bag, coat pockets or locker
  • ‘borrowing‘ something and then not giving it back
  • snatching things from people in the street or at school, such as mobile phones or MP3 players
  • threatening or demanding money
  • robbery - sometimes including physical assault

What should you do?

Stealing from people is bad enough, but it can also lead to worse things and get whoever's doing it into trouble. The best thing you can do is try and talk to them about it. You could also try to get them to speak to:

  • a friend or a responsible adult
  • a professional in confidence at ChildLine on 0800 1111 - they won't have to give their name so if they're worried about owning up to what they've been doing, you can tell them not to worry

If you don't think they'll listen to you, don't risk it; talk to someone yourself.

If you think it's getting really bad, perhaps you feel you need to report it, even if you know they will get into trouble. It's better they get into a bit of trouble now than it get worse, as they'll just get themselves into a lot more trouble later on:

Getting more help

For more information about personal theft visit our ‘Get the facts’ or ‘More help and advice’ pages.