The focus on the victim of criminality must never be over-looked nor the importance of appropriate support under-estimated.
That was the clear message from the Victims Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, throughout her visit to Leicestershire.
The Baroness met Lord Willy Bach who, as Police and Crime Commissioner commissions services to support victims of crime, and Chief Constable Simon Cole at Police HQ before talking to staff and volunteers from Victim First – the PCC’s countywide victim care service. This was followed by a visit to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre at Juniper Lodge.
During the visit the Baroness was introduced to several victims of crime of different types to hear their first-hand accounts of their experience and the service they received, before addressing attendees at a Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse Service Redesign Workshop at County Hall, Glenfield.
Speaking evocatively of her concerns that the criminal justice system is still not sensitive enough to the different needs and experiences of victims of crime, the Baroness highlighted the importance of victim personal statements as an integral part of the court process.
Baroness Newlove said: “Meeting people around the country is one of the most valuable parts of my job, especially when I have the privilege of hearing directly from victims and survivors like I have here in Leicestershire.
“Of course, every victim’s journey is different, but whatever the nature of the crime, people want to know that there will be the right support available.”
Willy Bach said: “The Baroness raised some really valid points about the overall criminal justice process. We have to get things right, locally and nationally, for all victims of crime so that they receive the right support, at the right time, in order to help them recover from their experience.
“I certainly scrutinise the services we provide very carefully and have recently changed the way in which certain support services are delivered. But I think there is more to do.
“I’m really grateful to the Baroness for visiting Leicestershire. I think everyone got a lot out the day which I feel certain will help shape services in the future.”
The Workshop was organised to gain views from providers, service users and partners on a redesign of the services provided to victims of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, across the City, County and Rutland, from 1st April 2020. The findings will be used to develop a number of options on which to carry out more detailed consultation in the new year.
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Posted on Friday 14th December 2018