Burglary victims are being denied access to vital services that would cost less than £4  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  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  (46%) want crime prevention information or security advice. Over two-thirds  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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct Line: Gill Murphy 020 8256 2157 or out of hours via Direct Line’s switchboard on 020 8686 3313
 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
 BMRB omnibus survey, conducted with a sample of 1020 people on 12/14 January 2000
Source: Practical help provided by Victim Support Schemes to victims of crime: a service review, Victim Support, 2001
(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, email@example.com