The innovative 10-year contract, largely funded by the Ministry of Justice annual grant for victims, is the largest ever to be awarded by a PCC*.
It will ensure victims of crime get support which has been shaped by others whose lives have been impacted by crime and help ensure they don’t fall prey again.
The announcement comes on the day that Victims Commissioner Vera Baird said she wanted to see criminal justice agencies held to account for delivering support to victims.
“I want to see …… police and crime commissioners required to publish five-year plans for local support services,” Ms Baird told The Times today (24 February).
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 and could be worth up to £20m.
As the PCC’s strategic delivery partner for victims’ services, Victim Support will undertake a dual role in commissioning services and in overseeing improvements to them.
The commissioning of victim care services is one of the PCC’s largest responsibilities.
This includes restorative justice services, sexual assault referral centres and services for victims of non-reported crime.
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, the PCC decided to redesign and recommission the services.
“The evaluation found there was good support for victims in our area but there were improvements needed along with sustainable funding. Our grant from the MOJ is only ever given annually but that leads to unstable service delivery,” said Commissioner Hernandez.
“This new and innovative 10-year contract with Victim Support sets in place a contractual partnership which will bring high quality victim led services enabling a sustainable future to many voluntary and charitable organisations. and after this difficult year during a pandemic couldn't come at a better time.
“Victim Support will build infrastructure by developing support services like restorative justice, services for young people affected by crime and suitable services for people with protected characteristics among many others.
“Working together with my office, the police and other partners, Victim Support will identify gaps in provision and implement new victim services in response.
“Victim Support will also ensure that people with lived-experience are given the chance to collaborate in the evolution of the service because my role is to be their voice in policing and take note of what works and what doesn’t.
“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.”
Mark Thompson, area manager for Victim Support, and lead for this contract, said: “At Victim Support we are excited to be able to share our experience, capability and quality standards with victim care providers in Devon and Cornwall.
“Victim Support has been a member of the victim care network since it was established in 2015, and as a result is well placed to understand the local picture and structure of provision within the area.”
*Not including services commissioned by the Mayor’s Office in London.
About Victim Support
Victim Support is the largest provider of independent victim services in the UK. In 2019/20 Victim Support contacted 730,515 victims of crime and went on to support 112,586 of these. Over 803,000 people visited their website and their 24/7 Supportline received over 88,500 phone calls, emails and live chat sessions.
In the year 2019/20 2,464 victim of crime were referred for support to the victim care network.
During the ongoing pandemic Devon and Cornwall OPCC has contracted Victim Support to provide a 24/7 webchat and emergency telephone support to victims.