New support for victims wins praise

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Early feedback has been positive for a new victim support service in Northumberland.

Victims First Northumbria was set up by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird last month to support people affected by crime.

It’s so encouraging and heartening to see the service making a real difference.

Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

It offers practical and emotional help throughout the criminal justice process, with victims allocated a care co-ordinator to serve as a single point of contact.

Referrals are usually made by police, but can also be made by individuals and other agencies.

Users so far have described the service as “very professional” and performing “exceedingly well”, saying they have been contacted when promised and shown consideration by people who have listened.

Ms Baird said: “It’s so encouraging and heartening to see the service making a real difference to those who need help and support when they have been a victim of crime.

“We’ve had calls from people who have found the service has helped them through what can be a devastating time in their lives. It has also helped them deal with the day-to-day difficulties of re-building their lives and solving the practical difficulties many face.”

In its first two weeks the service helped more than 550 people. It is being registered as a charity.

Ms Baird has also launched a Supporting Victims Fund for organisations delivering vital services for those affected by crime.

It is open to a wide variety of voluntary and community sector groups, including local partnerships, youth offending teams and charitable organisations.

For more details see www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk

To contact Victims First call 0800 011 3116.