Victims’ services to ‘change for the better’

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird sets out her views on the region’s new Victims First service.

In a few days’ time, victims’ services in Northumbria will change for the better.

From April 1, I become responsible for some victims’ services after funding was devolved by the Ministry of Justice to PCCs.

Victims First Northumbria will be an independent victim referral service.

We will put the victim at the heart of everything we do.

The service will be registered as a charity. We will ensure victims of crime, whether referred by police, by another agency or coming themselves to Victims First, are contacted by a coordinator who will give them help and support to cope and recover.

Victims will be assigned to a single personal adviser and partnership work will be carried out with police to avoid duplication, give a more streamlined process and co-ordinated support.

Being a victim of crime can be traumatic and Victims First Northumbria understands the impact is not only on the victim, but can extend to parents, siblings, children, partners and even close friends.

There is a wide range of fantastic services in Northumbria, for example through local authorities and the voluntary and community sectors, which we will reach out to for any specialist support that’s needed.

Victims First will also understand the different needs required by people using the service.

We aim to have a range of talents to make sure this happens. Volunteers also form part of Victims First.

On some occasions, the victim and care co-ordinator may agree a volunteer is needed to help them.

When I was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner, you told me you wanted me to put victims first.

Victims First is another step towards achieving our objectives and giving the most vulnerable in our communities the best possible support, care and advice.