[C]umbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall is delighted that a framework designed to improve the experience of the criminal justice system for victims and witnesses of crime in Cumbria will be showcased at a Victim Support Conference on Friday 24 November in Preston.
The conference, which is themed around new approaches to improving the delivery of victim services, will include a presentation by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on the development of the Quality Assessment Framework (QAF), which is now being adopted in other areas of the country. The QAF will provide a tool to evaluate compliance with the Victims’ Code in Cumbria with the aim of continually driving improvements in the way criminal justice agencies meet their obligations under the Code. There are four key areas that have been identified as the most important areas for action, and which the framework is based around. These are: Care and Respect; Enhanced Support; Communication and Information; Engagement and Collaboration.
Speaking ahead of the event Peter McCall said: “I am really pleased that this Conference will provide an opportunity for others to hear about the ground-breaking Quality Assessment Framework which has been developed with support from my office, Safer Cumbria and Victim Support. I firmly believe that by others adopting this approach, victims and witnesses will have a much better chance of having their needs within the criminal justice system met.
“Sadly, too often in the past we have heard about the poor service some victims and witnesses have received, and in Cumbria we wanted to do what we could to mitigate against this. Although the Victims Code sets out what victims are entitled to from within the criminal justice system, research undertaken by the Victims Commissioner showed that nationally, the picture was very patchy in terms of compliance. I am hopeful that this framework will go some way to overcoming this, and make a real difference to the lives of victims.”
Rachel Almeida, Head of Policy at Victim Support said: “We know from our experience that too often victims don’t receive the level of service that they deserve to support them through the criminal justice system. It is fantastic that Cumbria PCC is taking the steps to change this and we are proud to have helped develop this tool alongside Safer Cumbria. This will make a meaningful difference to the experience of victims and witnesses and work towards ensuring they are at the heart of criminal justice.”