Merseyside’s Police Commissioner is today marking the third anniversary of Victim Care Merseyside by holding a special event at which she will recognise the service’s achievements and explain how £3m of support for victims of crime will be delivered over the next three years.
More than 19,000 vulnerable victims of crime have been given specialist, tailored support and advice from the services commissioned through Victim Care Merseyside since it was launched by Jane Kennedy in June 2015.
Additionally, more than 15,000 young people have taken part in group sessions to increase their awareness of exploitation and how to protect themselves, while 4,300 professionals have been trained to increase their understanding of crimes involving in children and what action to take if they fear a child is at risk.
These achievements will be recognised and celebrated at an event at the Holiday Inn on Lime Street today (Wednesday 20th June), at which the PCC will also formally re-launch Victim Care Merseyside and unveil the services which will be running for the next three years. This includes a brand new support service for victims and survivors of harmful practices, including FGM, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence and forced marriage delivered by Savera UK. There will also be new support for families who have lost a loved one through homicide or crime-related road traffic collisions at ‘The Hub’ provided by Families Fighting for Justice.
Over the next three years, Victim Care Merseyside will also provide more tailored support for victims of hate crime, with care down by ‘strand’, to ensure victims of racial hate crime, sexuality and gender identity-based hate crime and people subjected to hate because of a disability all receive specialist support according to their need.
Victim Care Merseyside will also continue to provide a host of pan-Merseyside specialist services designed to support the most vulnerable victims of crime, including child victims of exploitation – both sexual and criminal, victims of rape and sexual assault, and domestic abuse.
Jane said: “I’m pleased that over the last three years, Victim Care Merseyside has provided more than 19,000 victims of crime with the specialist support they need to help them to become survivors. When somebody is subjected to a traumatic experience, it is only right they get the best possible care and support to help them on the road to recovery.
“These are still early days in the commissioning of local support services for victims, so it is right that I keep this under review to make sure we are delivering what is needed. Crime too is constantly evolving, so I want to make sure we are meeting the needs of victims today, and in the future. That’s why, last year I took the decision to fully review the Victim Care Merseyside service to make sure it still fits the bill and whether any improvements could be made.
“As we mark the third anniversary, I’m delighted to not only celebrate Victim Care Merseyside’s achievements so far, but also relaunch the refreshed service which will continue to deliver many vital services, but also offer new and enhanced support for some of the most vulnerable people.
“I was particularly proud that we were one of the first areas in the country to offer specialist support for victims of child criminal exploitation and we are expanding on this by offering a dedicated service for those who have been subjected to harmful practices, and enhanced support for families who have experienced the most horrific of crimes, murder and manslaughter.”
Victim Care Merseyside was created to enhance the quality, availability and accessibility of support for victims of crime after the Ministry of Justice handed down the responsibility for commissioning support services to PCCs across England and Wales. It is designed to give victims the best possible help to cope and recover from the after effects of crime, ensuring victims get enhanced support from the first moment they report a crime to Merseyside Police right through to the emotional and psychological counselling they may need to help rebuild their lives.
In 2017, the Commissioner took the decision to carry out a Victim Needs Assessment to review the existing Victim Care Merseyside service and see if further improvements could be made. At the centre of this process were the views of victims and survivors, with surveys and focus groups being held to gather their opinions. The views of service providers were also gathered through a series of workshops, including a session on ‘hidden crimes’ to explore what crimes may still be taking place undetected and out of sight. This assessment has informed the services which will make up Victim Care Merseyside over the next three years.
Anyone who has been affected by crime can visit independent website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org for advice, information or to find the best-placed organisations to help them, without speaking to the police.