MP backs calls for charity changes re-think

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MP Ian Lavery has backed calls for the Government to re-think plans for changes to Victim Support.

The charity has set up an e-petition against proposals that would see budget controls handed to police and crime commissioners, saying it could put at least £21million of help for crime victims in jeopardy.

It says the changes could mean the loss of support for victims of domestic violence and anti-social behaviour, as well as halt the distribution of home and personal alarms.

Mr Lavery, who has discussed the proposals with Northumbria Victim Support, said: “Victim Support volunteers do an invaluable job in areas like Wansbeck and we need to do everything we can to ensure that anyone affected by crime in any way gets the vital support they need and deserve.

“I know from talking to people from my own constituency that being a victim of crime, either personally or by witnessing a criminal incident, can be a very traumatic experience and that Victim Support volunteers do an invaluable job in helping many people recover from what has happened.

“We need to do whatever we can to persuade the Government to re-think its proposals. It makes no sense to re-invent the wheel by asking police and crime commissioners to purchase services for victims — a job that Victim Support has been doing very successfully for 40 years.”

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has said the plans will maintain overall spending on victims, with increasing sums available for practical advice and support. He said it will be a more flexible system, with the majority of decisions about what services are needed made at local level by democratically accountable police and crime commissioners.

To view the petition visit www.victimsupport.org.uk/dontsuffertwice