Arson is a very serious crime and often puts lives at risk.
Arson is when someone deliberately sets fire to someone else's property to damage it or to injure people. The maximum penalty for anyone found guilty of the crime is imprisonment for life. The sentence acknowledges the exceptional danger involved – victims may lose all their property, be made homeless, injured, or suffer a very painful death. If nobody is hurt, the victim may still have to cope with enormous financial damage.
What can make it even harder for people who survive an arson attack is the uncertainty of not knowing, until the police and fire service’s investigation is complete, whether or not the fire was caused deliberately. This can mean weeks, sometimes months, of additional anguish, during which survivors may live in constant fear of further attacks. Arson can be a hate crime when the victim is targeted because of their race, faith, sexuality or other personal characteristic and is sometimes the culmination of a series of incidents of harassment.
There are some things you can do to help prevent further arson attacks:
- if your property has been damaged, it’s a good idea to get it repaired quickly if you can. Vandalised property can attract people who might cause more damage.
- keep a record of all events that you think are related to the arson attack or any subsequent criminal damage or harassment. Note as much detail as possible, including the date and time of incidents.
- if possible, try to get photographic or video evidence. But you should only do this carefully and not put yourself at risk – it’s a sad fact that some offenders could react violently to being photographed or filmed.
- it’s a good idea to look at your home security and if necessary upgrade it. We may be able to help you arrange that.
Get in touch: we can help
Most people are referred to us by the police when they report a crime. But anyone can contact us directly if they want to.
You can also email or call the Victim Supportline on 0845 30 30 900 for support and information.