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A significant and long-term commitment to help crime victims

In her latest blog, Alison talks about helping those affected by crime to receive appropriate support and the new strategic delivery partner for victim's services.

A significant and long-term commitment to help crime victims

A new 10-year contract to support victims of crime to charity Victim Support will ensure that victims will receive appropriate support which has been shaped by those impacted by crime.

The contract is worth £1.2m in the first year but Victim Support will take on delivery of additional services in future years, so the annual budget is anticipated to increase over the term of the contract.

In total the 10-year contract could be up £20m in value.

Victim Support will take have a dual role, acting as my strategic delivery partner for victims’ services and ensuring strategic improvement while also commissioning services which are delivered directly to victims.

The commissioning of victim care services is one of my largest responsibilities both financially and, more importantly in my commitment to support victims.

This includes restorative justice services, sexual assault referral centres and services for victims of non-reported crime.

In the year 2019/20 2,464 victim of crime were referred for support to the Victim Care Network and we know that is only the tip of the iceberg. If we are to reach more victims we need to work smarter and be better informed of what support victims actually want.

Since 2015 support for victims has been provided by a network of organisations but after an evaluation which considered value for money, impact, efficiency and adherence to the code of practice for victims, I felt we needed to think again.

The evaluation found there was good support for victims in Devon and Cornwall but improvements were needed in respect of performance management, along with sustainable funding.

One of the main strengths of the existing support has been in the size and diversity of service offer for victims.

But this has also been one of the challenges. Encouraging a network of organisations to act as one support system for all victims has meant that some victims do not always get the breadth of support which could be offered by more than one organisation working together.

This new and innovative contract sets in place a contractual partnership which will do that and bring high quality victim-led services.

Victim Support will build infrastructure by developing support services like restorative justice, services for young people affected by crime and those designed for those with specialist needs.

Working together with my office, the police and other partners, Victim Support will identify gaps in provision and implement new victim services in response.

At the same time they will be working with all key statutory agencies to improve the overall victim experience of the criminal justice system.

It is a victim led approach, which will include victims in the shaping of services that meet the ever-changing needs of each and every victim. It will match solutions to needs rather than adapting needs to fit available solutions.

Victim Support will also ensure that people who have been affected by crime, including victim groups, are given the chance to collaborate in the evolution of the service.

Over the last decade we have made significant progress in improving the victim experience and as a result we now have a better understanding of what victims need.

This contract builds on that progress but ensures we are keeping pace with the changing nature of crime and crimes being reported, as well as the pressures placed on the system.

In supporting a victim to cope and recover from their experience of crime or antisocial behaviour Victim Support will also ensure that the providers in the supply chain can demonstrate that as a direct result of receiving the service the victim will be protected from future victimisation. This should help give them an improved sense of health and well-being, more ability to cope with aspects of everyday life, an increased feeling of safety. They should also become better informed and empowered to act.

As the service evolves, Victim Support will take on more specialist support services for victims including specialist funding for domestic abuse and sexual violence in 2022/23 and as a result the contract value will change accordingly each financial year.