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Boost to new integrated victim services for Cumbria

Peter McCall

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall has awarded a contract to Victim Support to provide a new, integrated support service for victims of crime and abuse.

The service has been developed in response to feedback from victims about what would improve their journey to getting support after a crime. The aim is to enable the victim to access the right service from the right person as soon as possible, without repeatedly having to explain their situation before accessing the right help. The new service includes out of office hours support through the 24/7 Supportline 0808 16 89 111 and a new Live Chat facility on the Victim Support website, for those who do not want to contact the service via telephone.

The service is available across the county for children, young people and all adults. It includes emotional and practical support, help to understand the criminal justice, advocacy and referral onto other support, where more appropriate, such as counselling. The new service is available for those who have experienced all types of crime and to victims of antisocial behaviour. There are also specialist support and advocacy services for victims of domestic abuse and survivors of sexual abuse. Victims can contact the service themselves or be referred in by an agency they are working with.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall comments: “I welcome that victims have the confidence to come forward and this service supports them.

“As Commissioner, I am absolutely dedicated to putting victims first and that is why I have continued to support and develop services for victims in order to meet their needs.

“Collaborative commissioning from our Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner with Cumbria County Council, NHS England, Cumbria Constabulary and various district councils all working together to get the right support, has been essential and is evidence of partnership working at its best.

“The knowledge that help can be accessed through the 24 hour Supportline is very reassuring. Also, the additional development of the new Live Chat facility via the Victim Support website is another valuable service that offers extra support to victims who might be nervous about making contact.

“We want all victims to be able to easily access support to assist them to recover.”

Councillor Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services comments: ‘Cumbria County Council have along with Partners listened to the voices of our communities about what support they need. This new integrated service is for all victims whether a crime is reported to the police or not.

“We recognise that children, adults and families as a whole have different support needs so there has been a real emphasis on ensuring that the right support is available at the right time for people and this includes specialist services available for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.

“Support will be available 24 hours a day to ensure we can responsive as possible.  The joint commissioning of this new integrated service demonstrates how all the partners are committed to support the communities that make up Cumbria.”

Claire Powell, Area Manager for Victim Support said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Police and Crime Commissioner has demonstrated his commitment to victims by awarding us a three year contract.  Not only that, the collaboration with the local authority means that we can now support all victims of crime and abuse [including domestic and sexual abuse]which makes for a much more cost effective and streamlined service.

“Victims tell us that they don’t want to keep repeating their story and our new integrated service enables caseworkers to work more closely together within local area hubs to provide the best support possible for victims”

T/Detective Chief Inspector Dan St Quintin said: “The live chat facility provides an accessible platform for victims of crime to get the help and support they need to report the traumatic experiences they have faced.

“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 would like to take this opportunity to say that if you are a victim of crime 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.”

Victims can access the service on a single number – 0300 303 0157

Out of Hours Support is available 24/7 through Supportline – 0808 16 89 111.

A new Live Chat facility will be available through the website for those who may find it difficult to speak in person. www.victimsupport.org.uk

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