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New mental wellbeing service for victims of crime announced

A NEW £200k service supporting the mental health needs of victims and witnesses of crime is being launched by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston.

Mental health charity Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) has secured a three-year contract worth over £218k from the PCC to provide mental health and wellbeing support to help victims cope in the aftermath of crime.

The service, which follows a re-tendering process, will see wellbeing practitioners experienced in the field of mental health delivering advice and support including self-help techniques on relaxation, stress and anxiety management to people impacted by crime.

The Commissioner has awarded an additional £10,000 to the project to support the mobilisation of the service to ensure it is fully operational by 1st April 2023.

Darryl said: “We know that crime can have a devastating impact on emotional and psychological wellbeing in the short and long-term. It is vital these difficulties are identified and resolved as early as possible to give people the best opportunity to rebuild their lives and avoid crisis.

“Whilst we have had a mental health service in place for the past eight years, the support available for mental health needs has changed significantly over time. This new service has been designed in a way to meet the complex needs of victims and to support them through the healing process so they can move on from trauma as effectively as possible.

“Making sure every victim of crime gets the right help at the right time is paramount to my work and this new service is one of the many ways I aim to make a difference.”

The new service will help victims or witnesses to understand that what they are experiencing is a normal reaction to an abnormal incident and enable them to build resilience to move forward with their daily lives.

It will be available for adult victims of crime who live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and will provide expertise and trauma-informed support in a way that meets the victim’s needs, keeps them safe and helps them make their own decisions.

Victim and witness support wellbeing practitioners will have access to a ‘toolbox’ of self-help resources around issues such as managing anxiety, low mood, stress management, sleep problems and ‘grounding’ techniques.

Hannah Turner, Head of Services for local Mental Health Charity CPSL Mind, said: “We are really excited to be working on this project alongside the Victim and Witness Hub. We recognise it is so important for individuals to be able to manage their feelings and reclaim their lives after experiencing a crime and we look forward to providing the much-needed support.”

The service will work in partnership with other professionals to ensure help is delivered by the most appropriate organisation.

Practitioners will be on-hand to advise and guide colleagues in Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub who have immediate concerns about a victim’s mental wellbeing to prevent escalation of issues.