As part of a week long campaign on sexual violence and abuse awareness, today (23rd November), Cumbria Police are focusing on the services available to victims.
Aside from ringing the police, would you know what help was available if you found yourself the victim of a crime?
For the majority of people, the first time they think about becoming a victim of crime or anti-social behaviour is at the time where that unfortunate incident happens.
The victim’s journey through reporting, the investigation and the Criminal Justice System can be an emotional and confusing time, but police and other agencies are there to offer support and advice in many different formats.
The Constabulary work very closely with their partners at The Bridgeway who can support any victims of rape or sexual assault if they live in Cumbria or if the offence took place in Cumbria. They are contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They offer a safe and non-judgemental environment which focuses on the needs of victims. They can also help victims by identifying their individual needs and putting them in touch with additional support services such as SafetyNet and Birchall Trust.
Cumbria Police also have a dedicated section on their website and an online leaflet full of useful information for victims: https://www.cumbria.police.uk/Advice-Centre/Supporting-Victims-of-Crime/Supporting-VOC-Documents/Help-and-Advice-Booklet-ONLINE-6-JAN-2017.pdf
Detective Chief Inspector, Dave Pattison said: “Becoming a victim of crime can be an upsetting and distressing experience so it is important that we make sure people know what support and help is available to them in as simple a way as possible.
“I think many people would be surprised at the number of agencies out there who can help with the array of questions that may crop up during their experience. The Bridgeway offer a great service that simplifies this process by providing victims with a consistent main point of contact throughout their journey and identifying with the individuals what support services would benefit them.”
“Our dedicated webpages can also assist members of the public by informing them what to expect.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say that if you are a victim of sexual abuse or violence then please take that first step and report it to police. We understand it is difficult but we are here to help. Your report will be taken seriously and appropriately investigated and we will work hard to bring offenders to justice.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “As Commissioner, putting victims first is at the heart of what I do and I am absolutely committed to ensuring that victims have access to the services they need, when they need them.
“As part of that commitment, aside from commissioning services to support victims, it is important to do our best to make people aware of what help is out there, which is why I welcome awareness campaigns such as this.
“In addition to the information available on Cumbria Police’s website, my Victim’s Advocate developed a website, www.cumbriatogether.com dedicated to helping signpost victims of crime and anti-social behaviour to organisations that can help them.”
A spokesperson from The Bridgeway said: “It’s important that the services who provide the support for someone who has been a victim of sexual abuse are easily accessed. We have a 24 hour helpline that will put you through to someone to discuss the best way we can help you. It’s a free number even for mobile phones 08081186432.
“We also have a dedicated website with an email address you can contact us on www.thebridgeway.org.uk.”