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New Minicom service (19 July 2019)
Charities join forces in campaign for child witnesses (14 June 2019)
Burglary victims losing out (19 February 2019)
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New Minicom service (19 July 2019)

People who are deaf or hard of hearing who have been victims of crime can now contact Victim Support through its newly launched Minicom service.

The Victim Supportline  offers confidential and anonymous information and emotional support for anyone who needs help coping with crime. The Minicom service has been introduced to offer a more specialised and accessible service for deaf people. The service operates on a call-back system; callers will be asked to leave a message and a Supportline volunteer will call them back.

Victim Supportline Manager, Phil Anderson, said; “We know that deaf people may find it hard to access support services that other people take for granted. At Victim Support we are aware that feelings of vulnerability and isolation may be intensified for deaf people and we hope the introduction of this service will encourage people to call us”.

As well as being able to refer callers on to Victim Support’s local Schemes, staff and volunteers will have information about other sources of support accessible for deaf people. The Victim Supportline Minicom service can be reached on 020 7896 3776.

For further information contact:

Paul Fawcett, Head of Media and PR, Victim Support.
Telephone 020 7896 3803; mobile 07764 161147;
email paul.fawcett@victimsupport.org.uk

Tamara Wilder, Media and PR Officer, Victim Support.
Telephone 020 7896 3804; 
email tamara.wilder@victimsupport.org.uk

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Charities join forces in campaign for child witnesses (14 June 2019)

At a conference in London today (14 June 2019), leading children's charities are joining forces with Victim Support to call for improved services for abused children and other young victims of crime faced with the trauma of going to court. Together, Victim Support, Barnardos, ChildLine, NCH and NSPCC are asking the Home Office and the criminal justice system to back an action plan to ensure that all child witnesses get the vital help they need.

Acting as a witness in court is hard enough for adults, but for children appropriate preparation and support is essential. Ideally all child witnesses, and their parents and carers, should have detailed briefing sessions to prepare them for court procedures and for dealing with the stress and anxiety they may feel. And the chance to see a courtroom before the trial can provide much-needed reassurance.

Victim Support's Witness Service already has a presence in all Crown Courts (and all magistrates' courts by March 2002) but they, and other charities, are hindered in their efforts to help child witnesses by funding shortages and the lack of co-ordination between the official agencies involved. All too often, the Witness Service only hears about cases involving children at very short notice and too many children simply slip through the net.

A recent grant from Children in Need has allowed Victim Support to develop new and improved training for Witness Service volunteers in the specialist skills needed to help child witnesses. Today's appeal calls on the Home Office to increase funding to enable this much-needed service to be delivered. The charities are asking for a range of measures to be enacted through the criminal justice system to ensure that Victim Support and other relevant voluntary agencies are involved from the earliest possible opportunity. This would include being informed about cases involving children as soon as it is agreed that a trial will proceed.

"It's totally unacceptable to expect children to go through the trauma of re-living their experiences in court without giving them the preparation and support they need," said Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support. "By coming together to campaign on this issue, Victim Support and the children's agencies are throwing down the gauntlet. We have proposed a solution. But without the financial backing of government and the systematic co-operation of the criminal justice system we cannot provide the support that children so desperately need."

For further information contact:

Paul Fawcett, Head of Media and PR, Victim Support.
Telephone 020 7896 3803; mobile 07764 161147;
email
paul.fawcett@victimsupport.org.uk

Tamara Wilder, Media and PR Officer, Victim Support.
Telephone 020 7896 3804; 
email tamara.wilder@victimsupport.org.uk

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Burglary victims losing out (19 February 2019)

Burglary victims are being denied access to vital services that would cost less than £4 [1] per victim to provide, according to new research released today to launch Victim Support Week (19 –25 February 2001).

The study, which has been commissioned by Victim Support and leading direct insurer Direct Line, highlights the plight of Britain’s burglary victims and shows just how concerned people continue to be about burglary with well over half the population (57%) being either fairly or very worried about the crime.

Now, the charity is urgently appealing for additional funding and vital support, to enable it to deliver a greater level of much-needed personal support to burglary victims as well as generally increasing access to its services.

Burglary is the crime most commonly referred by the police to Victim Support. Last year, the charity received 411,095 [2] referrals involving burglary yet, due to limited resources, volunteers were able to make personal contact with under a third of victims in total. Although the remainder were sent information by post, staff and volunteers say personal contact with victims is the best way to explore their concerns and understand their needs.

Victim Support Chief Executive Dame Helen Reeves said: “At long last the criminal justice system is giving victims and witnesses the attention they deserve as cases progress through the system. But in 85% of burglary cases the offender is never caught and the victims of these crimes also need to be heard. Every day our volunteers contact thousands of people in acute distress but due to limited resources we are not able to provide the levels of support we would like. We want to be able to offer more victims that vital telephone call or visit so we can identify and respond to their problems quickly.”

Together Victim Support and Direct Line have already begun to address important issues concerning their own service provision as part of the Burglary in Britain campaign. The campaign was launched last year in an effort to raise public and professional awareness of the effects of burglary and to examine how all relevant agencies and organisations could improve services to meet victims’ needs.

A victim awareness training programme for Direct Line’s home claims advisors and call handlers has been established in conjunction with Victim Support and the programme is being extended to other parts of the business over the next few months. In addition, Direct Line has provided funding to enable every Victim Support Scheme to receive an audio tape “Why have we been burgled?”, designed to assist child burglary victims to cope with the trauma of burglary.

The two organisations will also be working together on crime prevention issues and security needs. The survey findings reveal that just under half of those surveyed [3] (46%) want crime prevention information or security advice. Over two-thirds [4] of local Victim Support Schemes already provide crime prevention advice and services: supplying locks, bolts, and window locks to burglary victims free or at low cost. As a result of this latest research, the charity will be reviewing the findings with its own local practitioners as well as discussing them with other agencies.

Malcolm Cooper, home business manager at Direct Line, said: “We recognise that the needs of burglary victims extend beyond the replacement of stolen possessions and the repair of damaged property. Dealing with shock and distress is just as important and we would urge other businesses to follow Direct Line’s lead in order to develop staff training and deliver an enhanced service to customers. Burglary has potentially major financial and emotional implications for victims. It is in all our interests to understand the effects of this crime and to try to help prevent it. ”

For further information please contact:

Tamara Wilder at the Victim Support Press Office on: 020 7896 3804/3809, out of hours number 07721 359 425 or email mediaoffice@victimsupport.org.uk

Direct Line: Gill Murphy 020 8256 2157 or out of hours via Direct Line’s switchboard on 020 8686 3313

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[1] In 1999/2000 there were 411,095 burglary referrals to Victim Support. All were contacted by post but under a third were contacted personally. The amount needed to contact them in person is £1.14m which amounts to £3.80 per burglary victim

[2] Annual report , Victim Support 2000  
(
You may need Acrobat Reader to read the report.)

[3] BMRB omnibus survey, conducted with a sample of 1020 people on 12/14 January 2000

[4]Source: Practical help provided by Victim Support Schemes to victims of crime: a service review, Victim Support, 2001

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(c) Victim Support
This page was last revised:19/07/01
Victim Support National Office, Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London SW9 6DZ.
Tel. 020 7735 9166, fax 020 7582 5712, contact@victimsupport.org.uk