Liverpool City Council is today supporting a new specialist service launched by Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner aimed at improving victim care in the region.
Victim Care Merseyside is a new package of care and support created by the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, in partnership with Merseyside Police and a host of regional organisations and charities.
It aims to put victims at the centre of the region’s police service and criminal system and promises enhanced support from the first moment a person reports a crime to Merseyside Police right through to greater emotional support and increased counselling and therapeutic services.
The new Victim Care Merseyside package includes a new victims’ referral system delivered by Merseyside Police, which will ensure people affected by crime are directed straight to the best placed teams to support them and increase the number of face-to-face visits, while also reducing duplication and costs.
It also includes six key new support services providing additional care to some of the most vulnerable and a dedicated new victims’ website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org.
Jane said: “When the government announced in 2013 that PCCs would become responsible for commissioning the services for referring and supporting victims in their region I saw it as a real opportunity to make changes and improve the way victims are cared for in Merseyside.
“We’ve completely reviewed what’s right for our communities in 2015 and come up with a fresh approach, rather than simply continuing with what already existed.
“Victim Care Merseyside puts those affected by crime right at the heart of our police service and ensures they get the best possible care through their journey, from the very first point of contact when they report a crime to Merseyside Police to the emotional and psychological counselling they may need to help rebuild their lives.
“We are building on the great care that is already out there for victims by delivering six new support services which will give some of the most vulnerable victim the extra help they need to become survivors and providing an independent, impartial website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org which will enable people to find and access the organisations that are best placed to help them.”
Through the new Victim Care Merseyside referral system, as soon as a victim reports a crime, Merseyside Police’s trained call handers will carry out a rapid vulnerability assessment, to identify their needs. They will then use this information to direct the person straight to the dedicated teams who are best placed to help them.
By making these changes, the PCC has released funds to pay for five dedicated new risk assessors who will focus on ensuring the most vulnerable people get the protection and care they need and 12 new PCSOs who will strengthen the Neighbourhood teams and visit more victims.
Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ward said: “This streamlined, centralised, joined-up approach will mean victims of crime are put first in practice, not just in principal. They will get access to support more quickly, the support will be right for them, and they will be better equipped to deal with the impact of that crime on them, with our help.”
The new Victim Care Merseyside service also aims to plug some crucial gaps in the existing care for victims. These new services are:
1. An entirely new support service for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation – provided by Catch 22
2. A new serviced dedicated to supporting children and young people affected by Domestic Abuse – provided by Listening Ear
3. Enhanced support for victims of Sexual Offences – jointly provided by RASA and RASASC
4. Vulnerable victim support service provided by Victim Support
5. A new Hate Crime Advocacy Service delivered by a consortium led by the Anthony Walker Foundation
6. This service will be complemented by the pilot of a new pan-Merseyside support service for high-risk victims of Hate Crime & ASB – provided by Light for Life
The new website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org provides a one-stop shop of information and advice. It also enables users to search for organisations by crime type or geographical area or both, so they can directly access the best organisations to help them, whether they report it to the police or not.