Ensuring that achieving the right outcome for victims and survivors of crime is a central focus of my Police and Crime Plan. Having the right levels of service and support and treating victims and witnesses with respect is vital for public confidence in the criminal justice system and to achieving justice effectively.
In Warwickshire, I believe we have a very progressive approach. I have agreed more than £1 million of continued funding for victim and survivor support services, while my office has a good overview of all activity in the county and is able to make connections to help join up delivery of services wherever possible.
No one asks to become a victim of crime and it is therefore vital that they receive the right level of service and support when they do. As Commissioner I also recognise that some people see themselves as victims, others as survivors of crime. I will put them at the heart of the criminal justice system and make them the central focus for Warwickshire Police and partner agencies at all stages, to assist victims and survivors of crime to cope, recover and achieve justice.
— Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe
My approach will be to:-
- Publish a Victims’ Charter which will set out my personal commitment to victims and survivors of crime.
- Work with and influence partners to ensure that victims are placed at the heart of the criminal justice process. They should experience high quality, joined-up support which is tailored to their needs.
- Ensure all the services I commission or fund through my grant scheme to support victims are working effectively and helping victims to cope and recover from what they have experienced.
- Monitor and improve through the Local Criminal Justice Board multi-agency compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime and the Ministry of Justice Witness Charter.
- Work with and influence key partners via the Alliance Restorative Justice Strategic Board to embed restorative justice with all key agencies.
- Support the Chief Constable to implement an online crime progress update facility for victims.
- Support the new West Mercia Victims Board to promote best practice across the two force areas.
As a result of this plan I aim to:-
- Improve satisfaction of victims with the service they receive from Warwickshire Police and other agencies involved in criminal justice.
- Improve the quality and consistency of support services for victims and survivors of crime.
- Tailor the support the force and funded services offer to our most vulnerable and intimidated victims to reduce the risk of them becoming repeat victims.
- Improve compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime and the Ministry of Justice Witness Charter.
- Embed Restorative Justice across the county. This will be measured through the development of a multi-agency performance framework and via my annual survey.
- Use the results of surveys of victims and survivors of crime to influence partners to improve victim-focused services.
- Enable victims to track the progress of their crime online.
- Develop a more coordinated approach to sharing best practice across the Alliance.
Launching the Warwickshire Victims and Witnesses Charter
In November 2017 the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Baroness Helen Newlove was on hand to help launch the new Warwickshire Victims and Witnesses Charter. The document outlines nine key expectations that the public should have when dealing with the police and other agencies, such as being kept up to date on their case, being able to make a statement to explain the impact a crime has had on them and receiving appropriate and tailored support before, during and after any court case.
It also seeks to give victims and witnesses a voice and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses will be recognised and understood.
The charter aims to help ensure that the right measures are in place to support people in Warwickshire to cope after crime, and get their lives back to normal as soon as possible. It has been designed to ensure that the police and criminal justice agencies are doing all they can to ensure that witnesses are in the best position to give their evidence to court in order to maximise the chance of convicting offenders.
Seeking assurance that the Victim Support contract is offering the best service possible for victims of crime in Warwickshire, Philip commissioned an independent review. The findings were very positive and confirmed Victim Support is working to its strengths.
The review also enabled Victim Support to review its current services to learn from the
experiences of it’s clients and partners.
Victim Support achievements in 2016/17
- Total Referrals 2016/17 = 19,757
- Offers of Support = 11,687
- Needs Assessment & Immediate Support = 5,142
- In depth Support = 3,076
“The service was brilliant, [my caseworker]
was fantastic, really helpful, made me feel so
Victim Support ‘Cyber Champions’
Over the past year the Commissioner’s Cyber Crime Advisers have trained Victim Support staff to become ‘Cyber Champions’. This helps them to give practical and emotional support to victims of cyber crime.
“I dealt with my first cyber crime case since the training this week and because of the training I felt really confident in talking to the client, exploring the issues with him and discussing strategies for the future.”
– Victim Support staff member
Embedding Restorative Justice in the County
Restorative Justice (RJ) has proved complex to get started in a meaningful and sustainable way but over the last year we have made real progress. Previously there has been no provision for adult RJ services in Warwickshire, so building on the work already taking place with young people by Warwickshire Youth Justice Service, a successful pilot has taken place.
Adult Restorative Justice achievements:
- 250 adults provided with information in relation to RJ
- 86 referrals to the RJ service
- 55 offenders participated
- 30 face to face RJ conferences have taken place
- 100% satisfaction with the service received
- 79 police officers trained to embed RJ practices
In 2017/18 the Commissioner is part-funding a RJ development manager through the Victim Support contract, whose role will be to develop an Alliance-wide gateway into RJ services. Locally, Philip is also funding an RJ area coordinator to deliver the service, to the total sum of £60,000.
In February 2018, it was announced that the services in Warwickshire and West Mercia have been awarded the Restorative Service Quality Mark (RSQM) by the Restorative Justice Council.