The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for commissioning local victim’s services. In Warwickshire the independent charity Victim Support delivers these local support services, encompassing emotional and practical support for victims to help them cope and recover from the effects of crime.
It ensures that all victims of crime can access support services, but particularly those who are vulnerable and need enhanced support. Traditionally, not all victims report the crime they have suffered or take up the offer of support; however Victim Support is focusing on encouraging more people to report their crime and seek help.
What services are provided in Warwickshire?
Victim Support is here to help anyone affected by crime, not only victims, but their friends, family and any other people involved. Because they’re an independent charity, you can talk to them whether or not you reported the crime to the police. They can help you find the strength to deal with what you’ve been through.
Victim Support’s professionally trained team consists of 10 trauma-informed Independent Victim Advocates (IVAs) working across two teams:
- Children and Young people (CYP) team: Supporting those affected by all crime types, aged 5 to 17. There are also dedicated Domestic Abuse (DA) CYP practitioners who support children and young people experiencing domestic abuse, either as a victim in their own right or as a witness to abuse in the home. This team also support schools and educational establishments to deliver awareness raising and preventative programmes.
- Adult Independent Victim Advocate (IVA) team: Supports those aged 18 and above, with thematic leads for Hate Crime, Cyber Crime and Prevent. IVAs assess needs and provide immediate and ongoing support.
Victim Support also has a local team of volunteers, who receive the same training as paid staff. This allows for a more flexible service, including support during evenings and weekends.
Victims and witnesses are always provided a named caseworker. Support is then tailored to the needs of the individual. Any immediate safety needs are met, before information, practical assistance is provided.
Caseworkers can advocate across the Criminal Justice System and with other services to ensure victims/witnesses have their voices heard and their needs met. This can include guiding victims through the Criminal Justice process, helping them understand their rights under the Victim’s Code as well as liaising with housing, police or other partner agencies to provide a holistic approach to support, based on individual need.
Victim Support also operates several national services:
- Homicide service. This team is dedicated to supporting immediate family who have been affected by murder/manslaughter, working closely with the police. For any family members/friends or witnesses who do not come under the definition of ‘close family’, they will be supported through the local service.
- iMatter group-work based programme. This is available for 16 year olds and above for those experiencing Domestic abuse (and have been assessed as low risk).
- weMatter group-work based programme. This is available for 8-17 year olds who have or are experiencing DA in the familial home.