Supporting victims of crime in Cambridgeshire
December 16th, 2014
TODAY (Tuesday 16, December) representatives responsible for commissioning the support available to victims of crime heard first-hand how victims support services in Cambridgeshire had changed the lives of people for the better.
The conference, hosted by Cambridgeshire’s Criminal Justice Board, follows changes to the way that support for victims is funded nationally. Funding is now channelled locally through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. This transfer has enabled Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright, to not only integrate the provision of services, but also to enhance them.
The journey started nearly a year ago with the recognition that one-size does not fit all. Becoming a victim of crime affects every person differently and support needs to be determined by individual need, not by the type of crime committed.
In a pioneering move, Sir Graham opted out of national Victim Support services and created a local police-led Victims’ Hub staffed by local people who understand local crime trends and the local support services available. Victims who are identified as having specific needs, or who are persistently targeted, vulnerable or intimidated or a victim of a serious crime are contacted by dedicated Victim Care Co-ordinators based in Cambridgeshire’s Victims’ Hub. The Victim Care Co-ordinators assess victims of crime to determine the level of support they need and then help them in the most appropriate way, bringing in specialist services, commissioned primarily by Sir Graham, as required.
Delegates heard about the work of the Victims’ Hub and how partners are working together to support victims to cope and recover from the crime they have experienced. Those attending included colleagues from other Cambridgeshire agencies and other Police and Crime Commissioner offices.
Sir Graham says: “Significant research has enabled us to put together a package of support for victims tailored to local needs with pilot services where there were gaps in support. This has included Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs) to support those victims who appear to have significant mental health problems, and specialist support for exploited migrant workers.”
The services available for victims of domestic and serious sexual offences have also been boosted through grants to Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid for sexual violence counselling, peer support groups and telephone helplines. While young victims will be able to access enhanced support through two new Young Person Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) and a new post within the Sexual Assault Referral Centre to support the families of children who have been sexually assaulted. A Young Person Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) is also being funded to sit within the force’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub.
The bereaved families of those killed on the county’s roads in road traffic collisions are being supported by a local charity funded by Sir Graham. The work of the charity’s volunteers not only saves officer time but professionalises the support offered to families in what are often traumatic circumstances.
Elderly burglary victims are also being offered practical security help and support by a local charity. Their remit has since been extended to secure the homes of domestic violence victims to enable them to feel safe in their own homes once the perpetrator has left.
Sir Graham adds: “Cambridgeshire is leading the way nationally with our work and one of the big benefits of today is to share our experience with other parts of the country. Unfortunately, Christmas can be the catalyst for a range of problems including alcohol fuelled crime, domestic violence and burglary. I am delighted that in Cambridgeshire we have taken a bold leap forward and that victim support services will be there to help those people who find themselves victims of crime during the festive season.”
Notes to editors
Media enquiries to:
Charles Kitchin – Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Tel DD: 01954 713906
Mobile: 07809 332291
About The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Sir Graham Bright is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.
Police and Crime Commissioners have responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area. Commissioners set police and crime objectives, the police budget and issue crime and disorder reduction grants through the Police and Crime Plan. Commissioners also hold the police to account, making them answerable to the public.
Further details can be found on the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner website.