Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub marks 5th Anniversary
October 28th, 2019
POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite is visiting Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub in Peterborough today (28th October 2019) with Chief Constable, Nick Dean to mark five years of helping people recover from crime.
The Hub provides confidential ‘end to end’ support to anyone finding themselves a victim of crime whether or not their crimes are reported to the police.
Victim and Witness Care Coordinators provide confidential emotional and practical support from the point of reporting through any criminal justice process including giving evidence at court. The Hub also links into many specialist services from support for young victims of crime, survivors of sexual and domestic violence to specialist language support for migrant victims of exploitation.
In 2016 the victim service and the police Witness Care Unit merged so that seamless support could be offered to both victims and witnesses attending court.
Liz’s story: when Liz found herself a victim of domestic abuse earlier this year, she was immediately contacted by Victim Care Coordinator, Debra Tolley. Debra encouraged Liz to open up about how she was feeling, how she became involved with the person who committed the crime against her and how it was affecting her family and her emotions. Liz explains: “At first, I was angry for allowing this to have happened to me but as soon as Debra made contact, she assured me that she was not there to judge, instead to offer her support and guidance. I felt immediately reassured that she would be there for me whenever I needed to talk.
“Over the next six weeks, as the case against my offender was prepared and a court date set, I was able to speak to Debra regularly which was hugely helpful. The person who committed the crime against me, although now in prison had continued to contact me (despite bail conditions not to) so Debra discussed the importance of going ahead with the trial so that justice could be served, avoiding the risk of any future victims. She encouraged me write my personal statement, which I would read out in court. I was extremely nervous but Debra was by my side throughout, reassuring me that I was doing the right thing.”
Liz’s offender was found guilty and sentenced. Liz added: “What Debra did for me made all the difference – I was not only able to process what had happened to me, but supported throughout the whole process.”
Steve Welby, Head of Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub added:
“Everyone in the Hub is professionally equipped to support people like Liz.
“It’s important to remember that no one has to go through being a victim of crime on their own. I am proud of all the staff who work so hard to support victims of crime and want to thank them for their tireless efforts.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said:
“If you become a victim of crime or witness a crime, the last thing you need is to be in the dark about who to turn to for support. Taking the first step and asking for help, whether you report the crime to the police or not is a very important stage in your recovery.
“I often talk about victims being wrapped in a blanket of care and that is exactly what happens at the Hub. The staff and volunteers are dedicated to being there for people, making sure they have all the support they need to properly recover from what has happened to them.
“I am pleased to see just how much the Hub has grown over the last five years, both in terms of experience but in the breadth of specialist services on offer, representing the diversity of people living in our communities and want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone at the Hub.”
“The Victim and Witness Hub is part of the force’s wider priorities to protect those most at risk,” added Chief Constable, Nick Dean.
“In the last five years it has further enhanced our commitment to keeping victims and witnesses at the heart of our service. Thousands of victims have received help through the service over the years and the positive feedback, most recently in the latest HMICFRS report, is always great to hear, although the most important feedback of course, stems from those who have used the Hub.
“Of particular note is the praise for our victim care coordinators for providing a listening ear and vital support at a time when victims feel most vulnerable.”
Support services provided by the Hub can be found here: https://www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk/