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PCC pledges continued support to victims of crime during pandemic

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has paid tribute to the efforts of charities that are continuing to provide support for people affected by crime despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Launching her #ByYourSide campaign, Alison Hernandez underlined her commitment to support people to reach out for help and advice, and the ability to access essential services to help them recover from what has happened.

The aim of the campaign is to remind people suffering with the effects of a crime past or present, such as abuse, violence or rape, that help is available across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Operated by Victim Support, help can be accessed 24/7 online or via telephone, whether a crime has been committed or not.

The commissioner is also ensuring that charities supporting victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the region are applying for Ministry of Justice emergency funding, so they do not stop operating through the pandemic.

Alison said: “Even though we have one of the lowest crime areas in the country, many people have to face the impact of very serious crime. So, helping people get their lives back on track afterwards is paramount. Our #ByYourSide campaign is there to remind people that there is still support and help available to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Since its launch, we have seen an increase in the number of people seeking support, many dealing with extremely serious situations such as domestic violence and who are likely to be at increased risk because they are spending more time at home with the person causing them harm. We have also seen an increase in people asking for help about stalking and harassment.

“We are helping children too. We have set up the Teachers’ Helpline in conjunction with Operation Encompass to offer better support to teacher’s who need to make decisions about children who have been suffering from domestic abuse.  The Government has praised the idea and the Home Office has now made it available across the country for all teachers to access.

“In addition, my office is administering the applications for funding from the Ministry of Justice emergency fund. We welcome applications from eligible organisations that support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. It is vital that people continue to have access to these services despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.”