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Radical overhaul of support for victims of crime in Devon and Cornwall (IoS)

From Wednesday (April 1st) a new service will introduce a significant change in victim care in Devon and Cornwall (IoS), with the establishment of a police-based victim care unit (VCU) and a network of support service providers.

From Wednesday (April 1st) a new service will introduce a significant change in victim care in Devon and Cornwall (IoS), with the establishment of a police-based victim care unit (VCU) and a network of support service providers.

Rosie, a sexual abuse survivor, who lives in Cornwall, said:
“When I heard about the new victim hub it actually made me smile. To be able to put the power back into the victims lives, taken away from them through whatever’s happened, is such a magnificent step into recovery. I feel if it happens sooner in their journey, rather than later, what we will end up with is people being supported a lot more efficiently.”

At the heart of the change is the Government’s decision to give PCCs responsibility for commissioning victim services.

Across the country they have gone about this in various ways.
In Devon and Cornwall, PCC Tony Hogg has worked closely with Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer to oversee an innovative approach which moves away from the previous single service provider model.

The result gives victims a more personalised service to meet their specific needs.

PCC Tony Hogg said the new service is all about putting victims first:                                  
“This innovative new system will make sure victims get exactly the help and support they need,” he said. “Devon and Cornwall is leading the way in creating a system that effectively connects those in need with organisations who can help them at a time when they need it most.”       
 
Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer said:                                    
“After experiencing crime, people are affected in many different ways and for many being a victim of crime is very distressing and upsetting.  I believe it is extremely important to provide the most appropriate aftercare support, tailored to the individual.”
“We are committed to giving victims the best possible advice and support; and working with the PCC our new fully trained Victim Care Unit, along with service providers from the voluntary and community sectors will be at the heart of this.”
 
Maggie Parks from the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Cornwall said:                 
“It’s been the first time that victim centred organisations have been closely consulted over quite a long period. Victims themselves have been involved in the consultation on how the Victim Care Unit is actually going to work. We’ve been really pleased that the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has actually moved this initiative forward.”

The police victim care unit goes live on Wednesday 1st April.

It brings together an experienced team including three victim care advocates with key specialisms such as mental health.

The unit will provide victims with immediate support, and referral to a wide range of support organisations and victim focussed agencies.

“I am excited because it’s the right thing to do.” said Aimee Williams, VCU Manager.       
“We are continuing the work of the officers on the street. I don’t know a single officer who has been to a victim of crime and hasn’t walked away wishing they could have done more. Now we can carry that on for them.”

Ch. Insp. Mike Robison, Criminal Justice Operations Units, said:                                         
“We’ve now got a victim care unit which is able to help victims reach 60 different providers across the force area. So it really allows us to tailor the service we provide to the needs of any victim, and that is really a fundamental change.”

The network of victim care providers will be supported by, and accessed through, a dedicated website - www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk
This gives victims a comprehensive guide to 60 accredited support organisations, links to more than 100 national agencies and significant extra information.  Users will be able to navigate the site by need, crime type or geography.
 
Victims who don’t wish to report crimes to police can also access the website and use a separate helpline - 0300 303 0554
 
“This is about giving the victims more of a choice, and letting them choose what their priority is.” - Rosie, (sexual abuse survivor)

You can watch our film below

 

 

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