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Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Victim Support, spoke out about the impact of burglary on the victims, at the parliamentary launch of an Association of British Insurers' (ABI) report about building security standards yesterday.
The report, Securing the nation: the case for safer homes, outlines the ABI's call to the Government to 'design out crime' by introducing minimum security requirements in the building regulations for all new and refurbished homes. The ABI, supported by Andrew Stunell MP, called for new and refurbished properties to be 'crime-proof' to minimise the probability of homes being burgled.
Gillian Guy said: "Burglary can leave financial and emotional scars that may take years to heal. Sometimes the feeling that your home has been invaded never goes away. Yet so much of this distress could be reduced if good security was built into new and refurbished homes."
For more information on the report visit the ABI website.
Attracting volunteers from diverse communities in the UK is the key theme of Victim Support's national conference at the University of Warwick (4 - 6 July), which will bring together victims' and voluntary organisations from Holland, Belgium and the UK.
The national charity for people affected by crime has invited a wide range of guest speakers to its annual conference to share best practice across the voluntary sector and discuss the benefits of volunteering. They include representatives from Volunteering England, British Red Cross, Slachtofferhulp Nederland, Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijinswerk Belgium, CIVIQ, CEV European Volunteer Centre and Do-it.org.
Currently, more than 9,500 trained volunteers across Victim Support give information, emotional support and practical help to victims and witnesses at community-based services, criminal courts and on the charity's Supportline. Last year, a report commissioned by the organisation found that the monetary value of its volunteers' time is a staggering £27 million a year.
During the three-day conference in Coventry, Victim Support's members and staff will attend and run workshops and seminars and share information about the latest developments in providing help for victims. A series of workshops will be held at the conference as part of a European Commission AGIS project, Action Research for Volunteers for Victims of Crime (ARVVOC). The initiative, which is run by Victim Support in partnership with Slachtofferhulp Nederland and Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijinswerk Belgium, aims to develop and test ways to recruit and retain a diverse volunteer workforce. Contributions made during the workshops will be fed into the final report of the ARVVOC project, which will be published in August this year.
Stephen Hanvey, Head of Members' Services at Victim Support, says: "Our national conference is an important part of our calendar where we exchange ideas, learn new skills and discuss the challenges that face the organisation. Our dedicated volunteers are essential to our work and I am pleased that we are focusing on how we can increase the diversity of our volunteers".
Members of the press are asked to contact the media team for more information on attending plenary sessions.
Paul Fawcett, 020 7896 3803, mobile 07764 161147, email@example.com
Lucy Winter, 020 7896 3726, mobile 07725 429170, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Buckingham, 020 7896 3750, mobile 07736 211148, email@example.com
Victim Support is calling for 43 HR professionals to step forward and volunteer for its innovative national employment panel. The panel is designed to sharpen up HR practices in the local Victim Support branches and find creative solutions to employment-related issues.
As the national charity for victims of crime, Victim Support runs support services in every community and criminal court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. At this local level, managers have to be a jack of all trades, often juggling the task of human resources alongside other jobs like facilities management, IT infrastructure and local criminal justice board liaison, to make sure that services to victims and witnesses meet their needs. As with many service-led charities, budgets are tight and only 10 out of 90 local Victim Support branches can afford the luxury of paid HR staff, which can leave the majority of managers open to the threat of employment tribunals if they are not up-to-date on employment law and people management practices.
HR practitioners on the panel will donate their time and expertise to help local Victim Support managers with challenges such as recruitment, grievances and redundancies. The panel currently has seven HR volunteers, but Victim Support's national Head of HR, Roland Stainton-Williamson, says: "We are calling for a further 43 HR experts to provide independent, professional support in relation to specific cases and projects. My aim is to make sure that all Victim Support branches are as robust as they can be, leaving the manager with more time to focus on improving support for victims and witnesses.
"The employment panel is a cost effective way to add value to the organisation and further our investment in people. And current panel members will testify that volunteering on the panel gives HR professionals opportunities to experience and understand the nuances of employment practice in the voluntary sector, while giving something back to the community."
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Roland Stainton-Williamson directly on 020 7896 3715 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also information about becoming an employment panel member on Victim Support's website.
Notes to editors
Interviews with Roland Stainton-Williamson, a current panel member or local Victim Support managers who have worked with an HR volunteer are available.
For further information contact: Lucy Winter, Media & PR Manager, 020 7896 3726 email@example.com.
Burglary may be on the decline, but new research released today by Victim Support and Direct Line warns that we cannot be complacent about the impact that this type of crime can have on victims.
Disturbingly, the research found that one in four (25%) victims had been burgled more than once in their current home. Burglary can have serious effects on victims in practical, financial or emotional ways, and this kind of re-victimisation is of great concern. The research also highlights that just under two-thirds (61%) of victims surveyed were at home when they were burgled. Forty-seven per cent were at home, but unaware that they were being burgled; ten per cent of victims saw the intruder in their home, and a further four per cent were at home and aware of the burglary, but did not see the intruder. The research was designed to help Victim Support improve the scope, effectiveness and quality of the services it provides for burglary victims. The research surveyed burglary victims who had been referred to Victim Support by the police.
The most common types of support that respondents wanted immediately after they were burgled were practical, including information from the police about the progress of the case (39%), advice on how to improve security (28%) and help in reporting the incident (26%). Although only 22% of victims said that they wanted someone to talk to about the crime directly after it happened, 60% said that overall they felt emotionally affected 'very much' or 'quite a lot', demonstrating that the emotional effects of burglary are often not realised until some time after the crime occurred.
Servjeet, who lives in Bradford, was at home when she was burgled: "When I opened the door to the dining room, the burglar was standing in front of me. I screamed and my husband came downstairs quickly, because he thought I was being attacked. The burglar ran out and got into our car and drove off with someone. For six months, I was afraid to go downstairs at night. I still haven't got over the burglary. Every night before I go to bed, I put the chain across on the door and check the alarm. Victim Support was very good to us, because they helped us whenever I asked them".
Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development at Victim Support, says: "This research tells us that the effects of burglary on victims can be traumatic, wide-ranging and long-lasting. We can give victims emotional support, practical help and information to help them come to terms with the experience of being burgled. Our help for victims can only be effective if we have a clear sense of what is needed. Unfortunately, our personal contact level with burglary victims has fallen in recent years due to a lack of resources. We really appreciate Direct Line's commitment to funding the research, which gives us new insights to help us enhance the quality and range of services that we provide to burglary victims. People often forget that Victim Support is a charity, and we need more donations and more volunteers if we are to provide the kind of help that this research shows is so badly needed".
The research findings are also relevant to the insurance industry as well as other voluntary and statutory organisations that are concerned with helping victims of burglary and reducing repeat victimisation. The partnership with Direct Line, one of the UK's largest insurers, will also fund the development of a new toolkit of resources for local Victim Support groups working in the community to help burglary victims.
Simon Ziviani at Direct Line said: "The research also highlights the financial impact that burglary can have on victims with inadequate or no insurance cover - as a responsible insurer, we want homeowners to understand the need for sufficient levels of cover. After a home burglary, victims can suffer in many ways. Financial hardship is one of the few consequences of a burglary that can be controlled by being adequately insured, which is why we are so pleased to have the chance to do this piece of important research with Victim Support. By working with Victim Support we can better understand our customers' needs and enhance the quality of our service to them while Victim Support helps to restore their confidence".
The Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich will set the stage for a performance piece about the court martial and execution of a leading eighteenth century naval commander. The first public performance of The court martial of Admiral Byng will be held in the chapel at the College on Wednesday 17 May 2019. The event will raise much-needed funds for the London Crown Court Witness Service (run by Victim Support), which provides support for people attending court. Nigel Pascoe QC will lead the six-strong cast to perform his recital in the presence of HRH, The Princess Royal, President of Victim Support, and Rear Admiral Timothy Laurence.
Admiral John Byng was court-martialled and executed for losing Minorca to the French in 1756. Ordered to relieve the island, then under British rule, he was handicapped by poorly equipped ships and accused of failing to effectively engage with the French fleet. He was arrested, held at the Old Royal Naval College, before being transferred to Portsmouth for the court martial. He was found guilty of the charge, "That in the battle, Byng had not done his utmost to defeat the French fleet", and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad on 14 March 2019.
Nigel Pascoe QC says: "I'm delighted that we've been given the opportunity to perform the piece in Sir Christopher Wren's beautiful chapel and I hope the audience will enjoy this insight into naval and legal history. Essentially, it's about the court martial's mandatory sentence and Byng's single error of judgment, for which he paid dearly, but died courageously. I'm very pleased that the Witness Service will benefit from the evening, because its staff and volunteers do superb work to support people giving evidence in court, not just in London, but across the country".
The performance of The court martial of Admiral Byng will be held in the chapel from 8 pm - 9.30 pm. Tickets for the black tie event, which is supported by The Waterhouse Group, cost £25 and are available on 0870 906 3732 or you can buy the tickets online.
A limited number of tickets (100) are available at £75 (which includes admission to the reading) for a private champagne reception from 6 pm - 7.30 pm with HRH, The Princess Royal.
Today (Thursday 9 March 2019) Victim Support will receive the Skillsmark Award - the new quality mark for learning and development in the justice sector - at a ceremony in Riverbank Plaza, London. The Learning & Development Department at the National Office of Victim Support is one of only a small number of organisations nationwide to have achieved recognition under the Skillsmark Programme and to have learning programmes endorsed. The award will be collected by Fiona Richmond, Head of Learning & Development at Victim Support's National Office and Sarah Philips OBE DL, Chair of the national Board of Trustees.
Fiona Richmond, Head of Learning & Development at Victim Support's National Office said: "I am delighted that Victim Support has gained the Skillsmark Award. The process was rigorous and confirmed that our systems and learning programmes are of a high quality. The prime purpose of gaining the award was to make sure that the learning programmes used with volunteers to prepare them to support victims and witnesses are second to none. Our learning programmes are also related to national occupational standards and relevant nationally recognised qualifications.
"Victim Support also develops and delivers learning programmes for other organisations in the justice sector relating to victim awareness and victim sensitive practice and Skillsmark will give professionals confidence in the training provided".
The ceremony is taking place during a Skills Summit attended by delegates from all parts of the justice sector, hosted by Skills for Justice in association with the Home Office.
The full impact of crime on young people is, at present, unknown. As a result, young people are put at greater risk, say the charities Young Voice and Victim Support who today (9 March 2019) launch a campaign to call for a better and more co-ordinated approach to collecting data on crimes against the young.
The partnership is being launched at a conference in London where speakers will include police and charity representatives. The speakers will explore new ways to:
Currently, the lack of consistent and comprehensive national data about how crime affects young people prevents effective steps being taken to reduce it, and to offer support to those affected. But several new Government initiatives present an ideal opportunity to make sweeping changes that together could help resolve the data collection problems once and for all. These include the setting up of a new cross-party review group to look at the collection and publication of all crime figures, and the forthcoming joint area reviews of how local authority services for children are meeting their child safety targets as set out in Every child matters [pdf].
"For too long the extent of crime against young people has been obscured by poor collection of data. How can we hope to manage a problem that remains largely invisible? Tragically, the end result is that young people are let down by society. Not only do they suffer the immediate consequences of crime, but the job of helping them to cope and recover is made harder too. And there is evidence to suggest that when we fail to support young victims we may increase the risk that some turn to committing crimes themselves", says Harriet Becher, Young Victims Project Manager at Victim Support.
Adrienne Katz, Chief Executive of Young Voice said: "This is an unprecedented opportunity as services for children are reorganised. If no changes are made, we could see fragmented data collection for years to come and more young people losing faith in the authorities. Now is a perfect time for national and local government, police, charities and those involved in the care and education of young people to come together and design a system that measures the impact of crime on the young. This could prevent future generations from being left to cope with crime alone".
Victim Support reveals a rare insight into the experiences of people bereaved by murder and manslaughter in a new report published today, 22 February 2019. The report, In the aftermath - the support needs of people bereaved by homicide, reaches beyond the homicide headlines to expose the traumatic consequences of these crimes on the families and friends left behind. It brings together evidence from in-depth interviews with 41 bereaved people, and findings from focus groups with police, probation employees and Victim Support employees and volunteers. The report also includes a review of existing research.
The experience of bereavement by homicide can be devastating. The grief which follows homicide is unlike the grief that accompanies a death by natural causes. People experience intense and overwhelming emotions over a long period of time, which can affect the normal functioning of everyday life. Mothers and sons, sisters and fathers are among the voices in the report that describe a clear need for more active practical support, greater sensitivity to their feelings throughout the criminal proceedings and a need for information during the investigation, at trial and beyond.
"One minute K. had died and the next they're saying it's a murder inquiry and they'd be doing a post mortem and because you're in such shock, it's surreal. Not five minutes ago you'd been there as your child takes their last breath and then the next minute everything's taken out of your hands anyway. We still knew none of the facts surrounding her death so it was a huge shock." (Mother, 49)
"It's the time in your life when you are the most dependent. The mind needs to shut down for periods of time. What's missing, especially during the first year, is having someone there throughout the whole process, who actually stays with you, who is a resource point, an information point, a sounding board". (Brother, 31)
"You know how you see on TV what happens when someone identifies a body? It was nothing like that. They took me into a little room and he was there, in front of me, but I wasn't allowed to touch him". (Mother, 36)
Traumatic grief can be overwhelming. Combined with a focus on the details of the investigation, this can mean that day-to-day domestic matters, such as paying household bills and remembering to feed the pets, will often be overlooked. "When we drove back the next day, after they'd turned the life support off, I can remember seeing all the speed cameras we must have passed on the way there and I thought, "I wonder if we've got speeding tickets?"" (Father, 43)
If the homicide happened in the family home, the house will be in turmoil. It may even be sealed as a crime scene and the family not allowed in. Having someone to step in and organise the clearing up when the family returns or even to help answer the 'phone and screen calls can be extremely helpful.
The research found that different people experience bereavement by homicide in different ways, depending on their relationship to the victim. "He's a big tough guy - he was 19 when his brother died, they were really close but he can't show any emotion. He curled up in my car outside the hospital and stayed there for two days, like a baby". (Mother, 60)
Many people benefit from being encouraged to grieve, and to accept that this is natural. "She's [Victim Support volunteer] helped me identify practical ways to deal with my anger like taking up exercise, having time to myself each day, just to think. I can't change what's happened but she's really helped me rationalise it". (Sister, 27)
Traumatic grief can also be complicated by involvement in the criminal justice system, whose processes can inhibit and slow down grief reactions, and intensify feelings of powerlessness and anger. One victim's mother wanted ongoing contact with the police: "Even if they have nothing to tell me, I have questions". (Mother, 58)
The research was carried out to help Victim Support review its services for people bereaved by homicide. Key recommendations from the report include: a need for more active, practical help for bereaved people; working closely with other organisations working with people bereaved by homicide to review family liaison work, to improve communication and make sure that bereaved people can be helped more effectively; and updating Victim Support's volunteer training for supporting bereaved people.
Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development at Victim Support, said: "The effect of bereavement by murder or manslaughter is emotionally and psychologically devastating for the hidden victims - the family and friends left behind. Our research paints a graphic picture of the wide-ranging feelings and circumstances that they experience. It gives us a new insight into the support needs of people bereaved by homicide. It will have a major impact on the re-development of Victim Support's services for people bereaved in this way. The findings from this research will be of enormous benefit, not only to Victim Support, but to other criminal justice agencies and other organisations working in this area".
June Price, from Pontefract, whose mother was murdered four years ago, says: "My Mum and I were really close, so when she was murdered I lost my best friend too. Over the years, Victim Support has played a big part in helping me come to terms with my grief. Whenever I feel low, I know that I can call them and talk to them, and that really helps. By explaining to bereaved people that their feelings are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation, I hope this report from Victim Support will help other people who have gone through what I have".
Victims of racially motivated, faith and homophobic crimes in four areas of the country are being called upon by Victim Support to take part in a research project into hate crime.
The national charity is appealing for people who live in Cardiff, Oldham, Stoke-on-Trent and the London borough of Lambeth to talk to trained researchers about their experiences of a crime motivated by racism, religious prejudice or homophobia. Participants will take part in a one-hour, confidential face-to-face interview, either at a local Victim Support office or in the community (café, public library, etc) and must be over 18. Interviews are taking place in February and March.
The £100,000 research and development programme has been designed by Victim Support, in partnership with Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), to identify and understand the support needs of victims of hate crime in England and Wales. Victim Support will use the findings to develop and improve its services for supporting people affected by hate crime. Every year, the national charity helps around 22,000 people affected by racially motivated crime alone.
Katy Chaston, Research Manager at Victim Support, says: "Hate crime has a terrible effect on victims, and those close to them, as well as on whole communities. By listening to people's experiences, we will learn more about their needs and how other agencies can work with us to support victims. By actively taking part in this research, participants will be helping to educate people and improve services for other victims of hate crime".
Anyone interested in taking part can contact Julian V Hows at Michael Bell Associates on 020 7407 4010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Participants will be paid £10 to cover their expenses.
Notes for editors:
Victim Support has welcomed the Government's plans to review the way in which crime figures are produced and publicised, adding that the current system has led to mistrust and anxiety in the general population about levels of crime. The national charity's call for greater clarity comes as new figures from the Home Office show that violent crime reported to the police has risen by four per cent between July and September last year, while robbery has increased by 11%. Victim Support's Head of Communications, Paul Fawcett, says: "The current system is confusing and open to misinterpretation. The situation has been made worse by selective reporting in the media. We would welcome a fundamental review of the way the statistics are collated, calculated and presented, to help give a clearer picture of crime. Working with the victims of violent crime makes up a large part of our workload, so we're concerned that it's on the increase again. The Street Crime Initiative, which came to an end last April, seemed to be effective in reducing this kind of crime. Seeing these figures rise once again is a clear sign that we need similar measures to get street crime under control".
Visitors to the Royal Courts of Justice can step back in time next month to witness a trial that helped establish the independence of juries. The trial of two Quaker men is being staged to raise money for the London Crown Court Witness Service, run by Victim Support, to provide support for people attending court. Nigel Pascoe QC will perform his one man play, The trial of Penn and Mead, in court four on Tuesday 28 February. The BBC Crimewatch presenter, Fiona Bruce, will introduce the performance.
The play is based on the story of William Penn and William Mead, who were accused at the Old Bailey in 1670 of causing a public disturbance at a street gathering of fellow Quaker supporters, and the extreme pressure put on the jury by the judge to return guilty verdicts. Despite imprisoning and fining jury members, they refused to obey the judge's instruction. Afterwards, Parliament ruled that juries should remain independent, and free to return a true verdict without fear of the consequences.
Nigel Pascoe QC says: "I enjoy performing the piece, particularly in such authentic surroundings, and it certainly offers an interesting slice of legal history. I'm delighted that the Witness Service will benefit from the evening, because its staff and volunteers do sterling work to help support people giving evidence in court, not just in London, but across the country".
Tickets for the event, which is sponsored by Reliance Secure Task Management, cost £35 and include a pre-show reception with canapes and wine. They can be purchased from Claire Brooke at Victim Support on 020 7896 3702 or from Witness Services in London. (Please see the contact details for the Witness Service in London for more details.)
Today, Victim Support begins a nine day consultation with young people in schools in three counties, who will be audience to a new drama production exploring the issues facing young victims of crime.
The play, It won't happen to me!, written by Victim Support and CragRats, illustrates how bullying can spill outside of the school gates, and encourages children to think about the effects that this can have on the victims, and those around them.
The performance sets the scene for a day of drama-based workshops designed to engage and consult with young people through the use of drama.
Victim Support branches in West Yorkshire, Norfolk and Croydon are the three areas in the country involved in the consultations - which also include young people who are socially excluded - and will take the lead in piloting new services for young victims of crime.
Pupils aged 11-14 at three local schools in each area will take part in the consultations between 19 and 31 January. The events will give Victim Support an opportunity to hear directly from children and young people about how they think Victim Support should develop its services for supporting young victims of crime and their families.
Dr Harriet Becher, National Project Manager, Young Victims Project at Victim Support, said: "Developing new services for children and young people is a huge challenge for Victim Support. The young people involved in these consultation events have the opportunity to have a real say in how young victims will be helped by Victim Support in the future, not just locally, but also on a national level".
Victim Support is working with CragRats, a leading UK training and learning organisation, to encourage young people to express their views and ideas through drama, rather than via traditional consultation processes.
Chris Simes, Education Brand Manager of CragRats, said: "The performance will promote the messages in a fun, informative, and dynamic way, punctuated by strong scenes that highlight the impact of victimisation. We know that young people learn more and retain information when they are engaged with the learning experience. The performance offers an array of easily identifiable characters, while delivering serious, thought-provoking and motivational messages".
Victim Support is developing a national strategy for supporting young victims of crime. These events will play an important role in that work.
The events are funded by a grant from the Y-Speak Youth Consultation Fund, a Government funded scheme which supports the involvement of young people in decision-making at both national and local level.
A new survey published today (16 January 2019) from SmartJustice and Victim Support gives a unique insight into how victims think the criminal justice system should deal with people who commit non-violent crimes. The findings challenge many pre-conceived ideas that victims always want heavy penalties such as prison. Instead, they support a range of measures which they believe are more effective in stopping further offending.
The most striking finding of the research, conducted by ICM, was that eight out of ten (80%) victims think that more constructive activities for young people in the community and better supervision by parents would be effective in stopping re-offending. Seven out of ten victims also want to see more treatment programmes in the community for offenders suffering from mental health problems, and for drug addicts, to tackle the causes of non-violent crime. Among the key findings from the poll, which asked how non-violent crimes like shoplifting, car theft and vandalism can be reduced, were:
Lucie Russell, Director of SmartJustice, said: "This is the first ever survey of victims' views about non-violent crime. It's clear from the survey that most victims don't believe that prison produces law-abiding citizens. There is strong support for measures to improve parenting, more constructive activities for young people, more drug treatment for addicts and more mental health provision. What most people seem to want is not retribution but effective ways to prevent the next victim".
Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development at Victim Support, said: "Victims are often assumed to be vengeful towards offenders and favour harsh punishments. This is misleading. Most victims, while feeling angry about what has happened to them, want the offender to stop offending both against them and against other people. This research confirms that a lot of victims are interested in the prospect of constructive work being done with offenders to prevent their further offending. It shows that many victims of crime want effective measures to tackle the root causes of offending, which involves more than vengeance and punishment for its own sake".
Chris Streeks, a 38 year old ex-offender who is now an actor, said: "I served 22 prison sentences in 18 years which did nothing to reduce my offending. Prison made me worse - and this survey shows victims want the kind of initiatives put in place that will stop people like me committing crime over so many years".
Clive Harold, who was the victim of anti-social behaviour for over two years, said: "I eventually met the person responsible for the crimes against me and in my opinion it was more effective than locking him up - I was at last able to tell him what affect his behaviour had on me and my wife, which helped a great deal. He was full of remorse and explained the reasons behind it. Eventually he got a job and has not offended since".
Please contact the below for more information or to arrange interviews with Lucie Russell, Peter Dunn, Chris Streeks or Clive Harold. SmartJustice: Lucie Russell, 0207 689 7734/07931 507873 or Sinead Hanks, 07931 380952. Victim Support: Paul Fawcett, 07764 161147 or Lucy Winter, 07725 429170.
Victim Support is calling for 30 Londoners to volunteer to give vital help to people affected by crime. The national charity is appealing for people to join the Victim Supportline, which provides practical help and information to victims and witnesses over the phone. Volunteers also give emotional support to allow people to talk openly about their experiences and, in many cases, help them to start rebuilding their lives.
The charity needs to increase the number of volunteers to make sure that more calls are answered. The helpline took over 15,500 calls last year - but more than double that number went unanswered. Just over half of all calls were related to violent crime, while one-fifth came from people affected by domestic violence.
Mansoor lives in Barnet and volunteers for the Supportline. He says: "I find working here very rewarding, because we're helping people to move on with their lives. The team is friendly and the training gave me the confidence to handle a wide range of calls. I feel really supported by the co-ordinators, who are always around if I need to check something."
Graham Lewis, Victim Supportline manager says: "Some victims are very angry and upset when they call us, while others are emotional or shocked into silence. We need volunteers who are patient, able to think quickly and clearly, and who don't judge others. Although we're based in south London, we're looking for people from all over the capital - from all ages, backgrounds and communities. Thirty new volunteers would make a huge difference to the number of people that we can help."
Nick Ross, BBC Crimewatch presenter says, "Victim Supportline provides a lifeline for victims of crime and witnesses, and those close to them. Every month on Crimewatch , we give out the number to ensure that anyone who's been affected by crime - directly or indirectly - can get support and practical help."
Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering for Supportline can call 020 7896 3923 to ask for a volunteer information pack.
Commenting on the publication of the Government's Green Paper on services to victims of crime, Victim Support's Chief Executive, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, said: "As a charity, we have been struggling for years to give victims the high quality services they need and deserve. So we welcome the new emphasis on services in the Green Paper, particularly when we know that early intervention with support and information can help prevent longer-lasting and more serious problems for many victims of crime."
"We are pleased that the Green Paper seeks to address some of our long-standing concerns, including delays in providing help after an incident, stopping means tested benefits when victims receive compensation, and the overall lack of resources for victim services - which results in a postcode lottery for many victims."
"But we are concerned by the possibility that any increase in services might be funded at the expense of criminal injuries compensation. We believe that even a small payment of state compensation is an important gesture of recognition and solidarity for the distress and suffering caused by a violent crime. We welcome the wish to speed up and simplify the compensation system, but in an ideal world there would be well resourced services alongside an effective and equally well resourced compensation system."
Joanna Perry, Policy Manager at Victim Support's National Office, says: "It is alarming to read that so many people seem to believe that a woman is responsible for inviting a rape or sexual assault because of what she was wearing, what she drank or how she behaved. Rape is an appalling crime and has a devastating effect on victims, and those close to them. In other words, nobody asks to be raped."
"As the poll points out, most people are unaware of the shockingly low conviction rate for rape, or the extent of rape in the UK. It is appalling that so few victims see their attacker brought to justice. We welcome improvements to the way that victims are treated, such as the introduction of specialist police, Crown Prosecution Service prosecutors and sexual assault referral centres. However, many victims still report being treated with ignorance and scepticism by police officers, healthcare professionals and barristers."
"Too few victims get access to essential support and are confused about the issue of consent [that the defendant must prove that he knew that the victim consented to sex]. We would urge criminal justice professionals, healthcare workers and support groups to take a serious look at these findings and consider how best to educate people about the terrible impact of rape, with a view to changing these attitudes."
Victim Support today (1 September 2019) announces that Gillian Guy has been recruited to succeed Dame Helen Reeves DBE as the organisation's Chief Executive on Helen's retirement at the end of 2005 after 26 years of service with the charity.
A solicitor by training, Gillian moved into the local government sector in the 1980's. As Chief Executive of the London Borough of Ealing for 11 years she was one of the longest-serving heads of a UK local authority. In this role she led a major programme of reform and restructuring to introduce a customer-focused approach to services across London's fourth largest borough. Gillian was also Vice-chair and Secretary of the London branch of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, Secretary to the West London alliance of six boroughs and a board member of the Local Learning and Skills Council. She takes up her new position in January 2006.
A major new research project announced today (10 August 2019) will look at the growing phenomenon of hate crime and the extent to which it is affecting British society and individual victims.
The £100,000 research programme, conducted by Victim Support and Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), will examine victims' needs, and help determine the extent of hate crime in England and Wales.
The findings will help Victim Support develop a national framework for supporting local communities at risk of hate crime. This will improve the range of support available to victims and inform criminal justice and voluntary agencies about hate crime. CFS' financial support will also fund the production of new guidance and a toolkit of resources for local Victim Support charities.
Hate crime has hit the headlines in the wake of the London bombings but there is far more to it than religiously motivated offences. It is defined as 'criminal conduct motivated by prejudice'.
Because the extent of hate crime is so wide - including attacks against lesbians, gay men and transgender people, members of minority ethnic communities, disabled people, refugees and asylum seekers - the research will focus on the experiences and needs of black and minority ethnic people. But the results will be applicable to the needs of many other groups targeted simply because of who they are.
Racially motivated crime referrals to Victim Support have been steadily rising in recent years and the organisation currently helps around 22,000 affected people a year.
Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development at Victim Support, says: "Hate crime has a destructive effect not just on victims but on whole communities. The Government and the statutory services have begun to recognise it as a phenomenon, but little is known about how individual victims are affected. We also need to know more about how to support victims effectively and how to combat further victimisation.
"This project will help us deliver better services for victims of hate crime and for affected communities. It will help government, local agencies and researchers with their work as well. We're very grateful to CFS for funding it."
Chris Smith, Head of Community & Co-operative Affairs at CFS, which comprises of The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance Society, said: "As an insurance company and bank, we are only too aware of criminal activity as customers often contact us to report incidents and, as part of the wider co-operative family, we take the whole issue of diversity and attitudes to minorities in society particularly seriously.
"We understand the impact hate crime can have on individual communities but because no one really knows the breadth and depth of this phenomenon, we have decided to back this important research."
For more information, contact:
Paul Fawcett, 020 7896 3803, mobile 07764 161147, email@example.com
Lucy Winter, 020 7896 3726, mobile 07725 429170, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Buckingham, 020 7896 3750, mobile 07736 211148, email@example.com
Co-operative Financial Services
Dave Smith, 0161 829 5397, firstname.lastname@example.org
A new report commissioned by Victim Support to investigate the cost of its work has shown the huge value of volunteers in providing support to victims and witnesses. Based on detailed study of the work of staff and volunteers in six of the organisation's member charities, it found that volunteers provided help worth almost £27 million nationally last year. The organisation would need a further 1,100 paid staff across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide the same level of support as that given by its 11,000 volunteers.
The report was produced by chartered accountants Chantrey Vellacott DFK and used recognised ways of calculating the value of volunteer time. The work was funded by the Home Office as part of ongoing work to look at the way in which the Government helps fund Victim Support and the value of the public services the charity provides in return. The report gives a clear and overwhelming sense of the essential role of volunteers in running and delivering Victim Support's services in the community and in court.
The more detailed findings show that: Victim Support and Witness Service volunteers together donate 2 million hours of working time every year; the total monetary value of our volunteers' time is around £27 million a year. This is roughly equivalent in value to the annual grant from the Home Office to Victim Support; and for every £1 the charity spends on supporting and training volunteers, it creates a return of £5 in terms of the value of the work they do. This ratio is much higher than for other charities studied for comparison by the report.
Other issues are raised by the report in the context of trying to cost individual aspects of the services Victim Support provides. It suggests that funding for the organisation essentially delivers a package of support to the community. Attempts to work out the cost of helping an individual victim, or victims of a particular type of crime such as burglary, rape or domestic violence, will give misleading or meaningless results since volunteers provide the resources for that. And it highlights the need for the charity to have secure income in order to sustain and develop its services and plan for unforeseen crises.
"This report makes it crystal clear to all our funders that Victim Support's services are huge value for money," said Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support. "The credit lies with our volunteers, who work so hard to support people in their own community whose lives have been touched by crime. And whatever the economic value, we know that the benefit to individual victims is often priceless. Recruiting new volunteers remains a challenge, as does raising sufficient funds to do all the work we need to do. But this report should convince all our supporters, and prospective volunteers, that getting involved in Victim Support is both valuable and a hugely effective way of helping others in need."
The effect of crime on young people and the problems faced by disabled victims and witnesses will be debated at Victim Support's national conference (28 - 30 June) at the University of Warwick.
The Government's new Victims' Minister, Fiona McTaggart MP, will address the opening plenary, and the President of Victim Support, HRH The Princess Royal, will lead a discussion on increasing the charity's profile and financial independence on the final day of the conference.
Young victims and witnesses will be the focus of the opening plenary on Tuesday 28 June, attended by speakers from the Cambridge-based charity for bullied children, Red Balloon Centre; UK Youth Parliament; the University of Warwick; and Victim Support.
The difficulties faced by victims and witnesses with disabilities will be discussed on Wednesday 29 June by Chief Executive of the Employers' Forum on Disability, Susan Scott-Parker; Director of Voice UK, Kathryn Stone; Chief Executive of the Royal Association for Deaf People, Tom Fenton; and a visually impaired victim of assault, Michael Brothers, who will talk about his personal experiences.
Victim Support's financial independence and public profile are the subjects of the final plenary on Thursday 30 June, which will be attended by the President of Victim Support, HRH The Princess Royal; and speakers from the Media Trust, Charities Aid Foundation and Mortimer Whittaker O'Sullivan Advertising.
The Chief Executive of Victim Support, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, says: "Young people are more likely than adults to experience crime, even though they're often portrayed as the perpetrators of crime, rather than the victims. We also know that people with disabilities often come up against major difficulties when they go through the criminal justice system, either as victims or witnesses. The conference will help us share information and views about supporting these vulnerable members of the community, and ensuring that they have equal access to justice."
During the three-day conference, Victim Support's members and staff will attend and run workshops and seminars on topics including young witnesses; services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims; restorative justice; how to recruit and retain staff; and working with the media.
Victim Support's new leaflet for victims of domestic violence reveals the shocking extent of the crime, and provides information about the national charity's services.
The leaflet, which is aimed at male and female victims, points out that domestic abuse can happen between partners, within families or shared homes, and affects men and women (of all cultures, religions and classes) in both straight and gay relationships.
Victims are usually put in touch with Victim Support by the police - but they can also make contact directly, whether or not they want to report the crime and regardless of when it happened. Our staff and volunteers are specially trained to give free and confidential information, practical help and emotional support to people who have been threatened or abused.
They will always prioritise the victim's safety and confidentiality, provide continuous support and give them time to think and make decisions. Victim Support can also help a victim's relative or friend. Research shows that just under half of victims will tell somebody about the abuse.
The leaflet will be available from our website and from the charity's local branches. Victims can remove a detachable card from the leaflet, if it is not safe to keep the whole leaflet at home. One side of the card has contact details for helplines - the other has been left blank to write details of useful local organisations or other information.
Head of Research and Development at Victim Support, Peter Dunn, says: "Domestic violence is a terrible crime and an appalling abuse of trust, and it affects people from all ages, cultures and social backgrounds. Our new leaflet talks about the crime, encourages people to get help from our service, even if they don't feel ready to report what has happened to the police, and it explains what we and others can offer victims and those close to them."
Victim Support, the national charity that helps people cope with crime, has appointed Sarah Phillips as the new chair of its national Board of Trustees.
Sarah has a wide-ranging background in health and disability issues. She has been a trustee of the Multiple Sclerosis Society since 1992 and its chair since 1998 (she is due to step down from the role later in the year). She is the President and Chair of the MS International Federation, which brings together 45 national MS societies from around the world.
Since 2001, Sarah has been a Non-Executive Director of the North Essex Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, where she chairs the board committee dealing with quality and risk issues. She is also chair of the Disability Working Group at the NHS Appointments Commission. Previous roles include being chair of the Colchester branch of the MS Society, and trustee of Leonard Cheshire nationally.
As a result of her extensive experience in the voluntary sector, Sarah has spoken widely on a range of issues about charity governance. Commenting on her new role with Victim Support, she said: "I'm delighted to have been appointed as chair of Victim Support's national Board of Trustees and excited by what I am sure will be an interesting and challenging role."
"The world of criminal justice and victim and witness issues is new to me, so it is reassuring to know that I'll be working with the Chief Executive, Dame Helen Reeves, who has so many years of experience and knowledge of both the issues and the organisation. I believe my own skills in charity governance will also prove to be an asset to Victim Support and I'm keen to apply them for the benefit of the organisation."
The national charity for people affected by crime, Victim Support, will hold its national conference at the University of Warwick, Coventry, from Tuesday 28 June to Thursday 30 June (inc). The guest speakers for the plenary sessions are:
'Are you OK?' asks a new leaflet for young victims of crime, which features artwork by internationally-known artist Julian Opie.
The leaflet, which uses three of the artist's computer-designed portraits of young people, has been produced by Victim Support to offer information about its services, and basic facts for young people affected by crime, including bullying, theft and physical assault.
The leaflet tells young people:
The national charity's 'young victims' campaign in February 2003 found that one in four of the 12 - 16 year-olds questioned had been victimised in the last twelve months. Violence, assault and theft were the most common offences.
Head of Research and Development at Victim Support, Peter Dunn, says: "Young people are more likely than adults to become victims of crime. But however good our services for this age group might be, they're of no use if young people haven't heard about us or don't find us appealing.
"Young people are bombarded with very sophisticated marketing, and it's difficult for a charity like ours to compete with big advertisers. We were looking for classic images of teenagers that wouldn't date or go out of fashion, and which would make it clear who our information was aimed at. We think Julian's work fits the bill perfectly, and we want to thank him for donating the images to us at no cost to Victim Support."
Local education authorities in England and Wales are being offered free basic training in supporting victims of workplace violence, following reports about rising levels of assaults against teachers.
The first six LEAs to apply for the training, provided by Victim Support WorkForce Consultancy and Training, will be given two free half-day sessions on victim support skills and work-related violence. The service will be provided at no charge, other than expenses, at a location of the LEA's choice. All other LEAs that apply will be charged a nominal training fee, plus expenses, until the offer closes on 30 May.
The offer comes amid growing concerns that teaching staff are facing increasing levels of violence and abuse from pupils and parents. According to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, almost three-quarters have considered leaving the profession. The survey of 300 secondary school staff found that 46% of respondents said they had suffered mental health problems because of abusive pupils, with one in seven claiming to have been physically assaulted.
Chief Executive of Victim Support Workforce Consultancy and Training, Ray Wilkinson, says: "There's been an alarming rise in classroom violence, and it's incredible that we're now hearing demands for CCTV, tighter security in school grounds and metal detectors to find pupils' concealed weapons, such as knives and guns. Working in this kind of atmosphere must have an appalling effect on staff health and morale, which will also affect their partners, friends and colleagues.""From the LEA's perspective, staff who attend the training will be better able to support their colleagues who've become victims of workplace violence. Put another way, they'll be seen as responsible employers who invest in their staff and take their concerns seriously. Teaching staff will be able to cope better with their experiences and return to normal working sooner, if they've been well supported."
Local education authorities that are interested in applying for the training should contact Lorna Forbes on 020 7896 3772 or 07740 768945. The free sessions will be offered on a first come, first served basis.
People across the country will be giving up one hour of their time next week (Monday 25 April - Sunday 1 May) to take part in Victim Support's Sunrise Appeal.
Victim Support Northamptonshire has organised a parachute jump; a sponsored walk over the Humber Bridge will bring in donations in north east England; Victim Support Essex is taking part in a live, 4-hour radio broadcast from a women's prison; and in London, Victim Support Wandsworth aims to raise £10,000 with a range of activities, including a 'fun run', pub quiz and wine tasting.
Victim Support has launched the Sunrise Appeal to raise money to provide support to 250,000 more victims every year, including children, lesbians and gay men, and people from minority ethnic communities. As part of the appeal, people are being asked to 'make some time for victims of crime' by taking part in one-hour fundraising activities.
Head of Fundraising, Ken Madine, says: "People can do anything they want to raise money for us, as long as it's safe and legal. If they're unable to give up an hour, they can donate £3 to their local Victim Support by texting the word Sunrise, followed by a space and then their postcode, to 80887."
In February this year, Victim Support commissioned a survey of 1,000 adults, which showed that one in four people in Britain would sleep, stay in bed, or do nothing more than sit and have a tea or coffee if they could 'magically have one extra hour in the day today'.
"We've had some great responses from celebrities, who've told us how they'd spend an extra hour. Liz Dawn from Coronation Street would help bullied children, Joanna Lumley would write to Tony Blair about global warming, Gary Lineker would play golf, and apparently, Christopher Biggins would become Queen and knight all his friends!" says Head of Communications, Paul Fawcett.
"We hope the appeal will help us achieve our ambition of being there whenever someone needs us, and for that, we need more resources. The beauty of this appeal's message lies in its simplicity. Essentially, it's 'find a spare hour during your week and spend it doing something to help us help other people - and enjoy yourself at the same time'".
To find out more about the Sunrise Appeal and 'make some time for victims of crime' week, log onto the special website at www.makesometime.org.uk
Victim Support has produced its first leaflet to offer information about its services to men who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Rape and sexual assault: Information for men includes basic information on the emotional impact of the crime; deciding whether or not to report the crime; health issues (including sexually transmitted infections); going to court; criminal injuries compensation; and Victim Support's services.
The leaflet points out that many assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, including partners or close friends, rather than strangers. It also explains that being a male victim of rape or sexual assault does not mean the victim - or the attacker - is gay, which could be a source of concern to many men who experience this type of crime.
It is estimated that around one in 20 men have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime. Last year, Victim Support's local branches in England and Wales offered support to 6,658 people of both sexes affected by rape, and 14,362 people affected by other types of sexual crime.
Victim Support's Head of Research and Development, Peter Dunn, says: "The leaflet includes important - and sensitive - information for men who have been raped or sexually assaulted. Awareness of the extent of this type of crime is growing, as is men's willingness to seek help and support, so the time is right for us to reach out more effectively to victims.
"For many people, male rape is still a taboo subject, so it's essential to explain the nature of the crime, disprove some myths and tell people how they can get help. It can have a devastating effect on victims' lives and the people close to them. Swift access to good information and practical help is essential in helping the victim's recovery."
Copies of Rape and sexual assault: Information for men (and Rape and sexual assault: Information for women) are available from Victim Support's website, or by contacting Victim Support's National Office on 020 7735 9166. Translations of the information will be available soon (in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese) on Victim Support's website.
Victim Support has produced a new leaflet to offer information about its services to women who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Rape and sexual assault: Information for women, covers issues including coping with the emotional impact of the crime; deciding whether or not to report the crime; health issues (including sexually transmitted infections); going to court; criminal injuries compensation; and basic information on Victim Support's services.
The leaflet, which points out that many assaults are carried out by someone known to the woman (including partners and close friends), rather than strangers, has been published by Victim Support in conjunction with a new leaflet for male victims of rape or sexual assault.
Last year, Victim Support's local branches in England and Wales offered support and information to 6,658 people of both sexes affected by rape, and 14,362 people affected by other types of sexual crime.
Victim Support's Head of Research and Development, Peter Dunn, says: "This leaflet provides useful information, as well as raising awareness of our free and confidential services in local communities. Rape and sexual assault have a devastating effect on victims' lives and the people around them, and it's clear to us that swift access to help and good information is essential in addressing the trauma and helping with the victim's recovery."
Copies of Rape and sexual assault: Information for women (and Rape and sexual assault: Information for men) are available from Victim Support's website, or by contacting Victim Support's National Office on 020 7735 9166. Translations of the information will be available soon (in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese) on Victim Support's website.
Victim Support has produced two new leaflets to offer information about its services to men and women who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Rape and sexual assault: Information for men and Rape and sexual assault: Information for women cover a range of issues, including the emotional impact of the crime; deciding whether or not to report the crime; health issues (including sexually transmitted infections); going to court; criminal injuries compensation; and basic information about Victim Support's services.
The leaflets also point out that many sexual assaults are carried out by someone known to the victim (including partners and close friends), rather than strangers.
Last year, Victim Support's local branches in England and Wales offered support and information to 6,658 people of both sexes affected by rape, and 14,362 people affected by other types of sexual crime.
Victim Support's Head of Research and Development, Peter Dunn, says: "The leaflets provide useful information to men and women, as well as raising awareness of our free and confidential services in local communities. If victims are offered good information and effective help as soon as possible after the crime, they stand a better chance of being able to coping with their experiences."
"Rape and sexual assault is devastating for victims of both sexes, and the people close to them. However, male and female victims have particular - and different - responses and needs, so the two leaflets have been published with that in mind."
Copies of Rape and sexual assault: Information for women and Rape and sexual assault: Information for men are available from Victim Support's website or by contacting Victim Support's National Office on 020 7735 9166. Translations of the information will be available soon (in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese) on Victim Support's website.
Victim Support's first nationally-run charity shop will open in Horsham on Friday 4 March, as part of its new initiative to enter the UK's charity retail market.
The shop will be the first in a 20-strong network over the next five years which will be run by the national charity. All shops will stock a wide range of good quality clothes, books, CDs, records, bric-a-brac and household goods.
Karen Buckland-Bailey, manager of the Horsham shop, says: "Horsham is just the start of something much bigger. In the future, a chain of Victim Support shops will make a very significant contribution to funding our services. And a bonus is that a high street presence will remind people that we're here in their town and ready to help them recover from their experiences of crime. "
Victim Support's Head of Fundraising, Ken Madine, says: "Charity retail is doing well at the moment and we think Horsham is an ideal place to start our project. The shops will generate much-needed income for our work in local communities. "
The Victim Support shops will be established in clusters of seven, staffed by two managers and a team of around 30 volunteers. Following the opening of the shop in Horsham, work will begin on developing the remaining shops in towns throughout the southeast and the rest of the country.
One in four people in Britain would sleep, stay in bed, or do nothing more than sit and have a tea or coffee if they were given an extra hour today, according to research commissioned by the charity Victim Support to launch its Sunrise Appeal.
The survey, which was carried out by NOP World, asked 1,000 adults: "If you could magically have one extra hour today to do absolutely anything you wanted, what would you do?" The poll reveals that:
Victim Support is asking people to give up 60 minutes to do something more constructive than take a rest, with a call to 'make some time for victims of crime' in hour-long fundraising activities during the week beginning 25 April. The Sunrise Appeal aims to help the organisation provide individual support to 250,000 more victims every year, including children, older people, people with disabilities and victims of hate crime such as gay men and lesbians, and people from minority ethnic communities.
"People often say that they don't have enough time in the day to get things done, but the survey shows that 'stay-in-bed-Britain' is thriving, or rather, it's reaching for the snooze button," says Victim Support's Head of Communications, Paul Fawcett.
"As part of the Sunrise Appeal, we want to do something about that by asking people to get busy raising money for just one hour. The appeal will help us achieve our ambition of being there whenever someone needs us, so we need people to get out of bed and make some time for victims of crime."
Several sponsors and donors have already given or pledged £1.7m during the initial phase of the Sunrise Appeal. The money raised by the appeal will be used for a wide range of projects, including: funding for local Victim Support services; volunteer recruitment and training; piloting and developing a new service for child victims of crime; research into the needs of burglary victims; and public awareness campaigns to reach out to victims who are not aware of the support and help available to them.
Victim Support's Head of Fundraising, Ken Madine, says: "What people do to raise money for us is up to them, as long as it's safe and legal and helps bring in donations. And if people can't give up an hour, they can donate £3 to their local Victim Support by texting the word 'Sunrise', followed by a space and then their postcode, to 80887."
To find out more about the Sunrise Appeal and 'make some time for victims of crime' week, log onto the special website at www.makesometime.org.uk
I would plant more bulbs in the garden ... tidy my jersey drawer ... crochet another 14 rows on my baby blanket ... start drawing my husband's portrait ... do twenty sit-ups ... write to the PM about global warming ... sew a button on a jacket ... lie on my bed and read a book ... pick up litter in Leicester Square (or possibly not).
I would head straight to the golf driving range. The extra practice time would help me with my never ending search for mediocrity. I am afraid, though, an hour would not be sufficient but it would be fun trying.
I would spend the extra hour asleep in bed (bliss!) or drying my hair properly (instead of tying it back in a pony tail, as I normally do) or making the children a proper tea (instead of pasta - again) or going for a run (well, maybe) or streaking naked down Pall Mall (Royal Family and assembled tourists, beware).
I would solve world poverty, loneliness and despair. Failing that, listen back-to-back to two episodes of [Radio 4 programme] I'm sorry, I haven't a clue.
I really care that children are still being bullied at school. I would like to spend an hour making them feel better and listened to, and [give them] a shoulder to cry on.
I would use the extra hour to go into deep meditation. This would allow my spiritual self freedom from material distractions and enable it to ride out and form company with the angels!
I'd use it to write a novel - one hour every day for a year! I could finish it and do the rewrites.
I would make myself sit perfectly still underneath a country hedgerow and just look around me. After fifteen minutes, things would start to move around me, and I'd notice even more than I do already!
My first thought is to spend the time contacting all those friends to whom I have said the last time we met "I'll speak with you soon", "I'll give you a ring" and "I'll be in touch" - and never have. But then, maybe I ought to spend the time cleaning my oven! But maybe not!
I'd go and see my acupuncturist. I always feel so much better when I've seen her.
I would organise a radio programme that will make it very clear to listeners how much victims of crime suffer, and ask at the end for them to send us money for support for the work you are doing.
I would write letters urging governments to release the thousands of political prisoners being held in countries all over the world.
I would do what my mother used to encourage me to do as a child - learn a poem by heart.
I would like to be Queen for sixty minutes. I would knight all my friends.
I would spend it with my wife, Sarah, in my back garden in London. I would pot some flowers, tend to the pond, put some music on and enjoy relaxing in the sun.
I would walk the dogs across the fields and make both them and I as happy as you can imagine.
I'd take time out and indulge myself by having a long coffee and catch up with one of my best friends ... or my mum!
I would sit and watch the English Channel in all its seasons, weathers and moods.
I'd pay Tom Stoppard whatever his asking price is to give me a one-hour tutorial in play writing.
I spent one hour watching TV and saw a programme about AIDS in Africa, and was inspired to invent the Clockwork Radio.
Victim Support will today (Monday 15 November 2019) celebrate thirty years of providing support for people affected by crime and campaigning work at a prestigious reception at Lancaster House in central London, attended by its President, HRH The Princess Royal.
The Minister for Criminal Justice, Baroness Scotland QC, will join HRH The Princess Royal and 200 staff and volunteers from Victim Support, as well as representatives of criminal justice agencies and other charities. They will include the Home Office, Support After Murder and Manslaughter, Women's Aid, NSPCC, Howard League for Penal Reform, Youth Justice Board and Stonewall.
Speaking before the ceremony, the Chief Executive of Victim Support, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, said: "This event is a wonderful opportunity to look back over thirty years and to pay tribute to everyone who has contributed to our success. After starting life as a project in Bristol in 1974, Victim Support now provides information and support in every community and supports witnesses in every criminal court. Our national telephone helpline, Victim Supportline, provides an extra, vital source of help."
"Today, we are celebrating not only the improvement in services, but also a major advance in victims' rights. The new Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims' Bill, for which Royal Assent is expected today, will put in place statutory rights for victims and introduce a Commissioner to look after their interests."
"We have been calling for these measures for ten years, so it is hugely gratifying to see our ideas come to fruition on today of all days. We wholeheartedly welcome the introduction of the Bill and its provisions which, if fully implemented and properly resourced, should go a long way to safeguard the rights and needs of people affected by crime."
The Chief Executive of Victim Support, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, will today (2 November 2019) receive an honorary Doctor of Laws from Southampton Institute, in recognition of her 'outstanding contribution' to victims' services.
Speaking before today's ceremony, Dame Helen said: "I am delighted to have been nominated by Southampton Institute for this wonderful honour, which acknowledges some of the hard-won achievements that have been made to address victims' and witnesses' needs in recent years. I very much appreciate the Institute's recognition of this important issue."
Helen worked at the Inner London Probation Service from 1967 to 1979, before being appointed Chief Executive of the National Association of Victims Support Schemes (NAVSS) in 1980. She is also Vice President of the World Society of Victimology and Chair of the European Forum for Victim Services. Helen was awarded an OBE in 1986 and a DBE in 1999.
Many of Victim Support's branches nationwide - along with the Witness Service at local criminal courts - will be welcoming members of the public to their offices during Inside Justice Week, which starts on 11 October.
The event has been organised by the Home Office to illustrate how the UK's various criminal justice system agencies work together to deliver justice, and to highlight recent improvements to services for victims and witnesses of crime.
Throughout the week, there will be events to promote and explain the work of Victim Support and the Witness Service, along with the other criminal justice agencies. These include:
Media & PR Manager at Victim Support, Sarah Morris, says: "We hope people will be encouraged to find out more about the criminal justice system. There's a lot to ask about, so this is a good way of making information available. There is also the chance to find out about our work and opportunities to volunteer to support victims and witnesses locally."
The national charity for people affected by crime, Victim Support, has unveiled its new range of Christmas cards to help raise money for its services for victims and witnesses.
This year's collection includes traditional and contemporary designs, including 'Christmas robin', 'Star of wonder', 'Snowy the snowman', and 'International greetings', which sends your best wishes to relatives and friends in a variety of languages.
Prices for a pack of ten cards range from £2.50 to £3.95 - and wrapping paper is available for £2.95 for five sheets with matching tags. Ordering your selection is quick and easy - you can phone, fax, post or purchase online.
Victim Support's Head of Fundraising, Ken Madine, says: "We rely increasingly on donations and fundraising activities, such as the sale of Christmas cards, to help us maintain and develop our services for victims of crime. Whether you order one pack of wrapping paper or choose to buy packs of cards for everyone you know, it can make a real difference to our work."
To get a free copy of Victim Support's Christmas card brochure, please call 020 7896 3703 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, you can view and buy online at www.victimsupport.org.
Staff at Victim Support's national telephone helpline are looking for more volunteers to offer support to people affected by crime.
Trained staff and volunteers at Victim Supportline, which is based at Victim Support's head office in south London, provide emotional support, information and practical help to victims, witnesses, and their families and friends. Every year, the line takes around 18,000 calls.
Co-ordinator Gail Hewitt says: "Our volunteers are invaluable to us and to the people they speak to. They take calls from people anywhere in the UK who've been affected by a variety of crimes. It could be a young man who's just been mugged for his mobile phone or a woman who's been in an abusive relationship for ten years, and who's told nobody until then.
"When you pick up the phone, you never know who's calling and that makes the work both demanding and rewarding. The co-ordinators are looking for people who are good listeners, non-judgmental, patient and able to think on their feet. In return for a few hours' of their time every week, we'll provide comprehensive training and people skills," says Gail.
Anyone interested in joining the Victim Supportline team should call 020 7896 3923 to ask for a volunteer information pack and find out more about the work of Victim Support via its website, www.victimsupport.org.
New information from Victim Support for minority ethnic victims and witnesses will help them cope with the effects of crime and giving evidence in court, says the national charity.
For the first time, the organisation has produced a range of fact sheets - Burglary, Violence, Helping your child cope with the effects of crime, Going to court, Working for victims of crime, and Thank you for using our service - which have been translated into Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujerati, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
The information will be used by the charity's staff and volunteers across England and Wales to help support victims and witnesses and it can be viewed, downloaded and printed from Victim Support's website - www.victimsupport.org.
Victim Support's Head of Communications, Paul Fawcett, says: "This new information should help meet a vital need in reaching out to people of all ages, communities and cultures in the UK. We're very pleased that it's now widely available and it's essential that it's used not just by people directly affected by crime, but also community groups, health care professionals and social care providers."
Hundreds of staff from Victim Support will meet at the charity's National Conference next month (6 - 8 July) to hear debates on the rights of victims and witnesses, the needs of the UK's diverse population, and the media's reporting of crime.
The Minister for Criminal Justice and Law Reform, Baroness Scotland, and the Metropolitan Police's Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Brian Paddick, will talk on Helping victims and witnesses in a changing political environment, on Tuesday 6 July. The gay and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, will be among those discussing Meeting the needs of a diverse community on Wednesday 7 July; and the Director of the Press Complaints Commission, Tim Toulmin, and the BBC journalist, Clarence Mitchell, who reported on the Soham murders, will debate The media's role in reporting crime and the impact on victims and witnesses, on Thursday 8 July. They will be joined by Merlyn Nuttal, who will talk about her experiences as a victim of serious assault.
During the three-day event at the University of Warwick in Coventry, Victim Support's members and staff will attend and run workshops and seminars on topics including supporting young victims, dealing with major incidents, criminal injuries compensation, and working with the media.
The Chief Executive of Victim Support, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, says: "The National Conference is a major event in our calendar when we can consider key issues and stay ahead of the game, and it comes at a time when the organisation is facing important challenges."
For more information about the conference or attending the sessions, please contact:
Andrew Buckingham, Media & PR Officer, telephone 020 7896 3750, mobile 07736 211148
Sarah Morris, Media & PR Manager, telephone 020 7896 3753, mobile 07721 359425
Paul Fawcett, Head of Communications, telephone 020 7896 3803, mobile 07764 161147.
Young victims of crime are now being offered a greater level of support and practical help by the national charity, Victim Support, following its campaign to show the extent of crime against 12 to 16 year olds.
Many of Victim Support's services for children and young people have been developed or improved since its young victims campaign in February 2003, which found that one in four of those questioned had been victims of crime in the last twelve months. Violence, assault and theft were the most common offences.
A new review of the charity's work has highlighted the extent of its services to support young people, and gives examples of local initiatives.
In Humberside, school children aged 5 - 13 are offered information and help after a crime, and at Victim Support and the Witness Service Bolton, in Greater Manchester, staff and volunteers are working with other agencies to target homophobic bullying in schools. Secondary school students in Brent in northwest London are working with their local branch of Victim Support to focus on the effects of domestic violence and gun crime, while Victim Support Cornwall's ABC (Anti-bullying in Cornwall) initiative now employs three project workers across the county.
Young Victims of Crime Co-ordinator at Victim Support Humber, Helen Horvath, says: "We're now dealing with more than 100 referrals every month, so there's a real need for this service and so far, the feedback from young people and their parents has been very positive."
Area Manager of Victim Support Cornwall, Sally Piper, says: "Our project has gone from strength to strength and has enabled us to forge strong links with local schools to help them develop anti-bullying policies and initiatives, such as peer support groups in secondary schools and 'playground pals' in primary schools. We're now developing a resource manual and information leaflets."
Head of Research & Development at Victim Support, Peter Dunn, says: "We're encouraged to see that our services are addressing victims' needs, although we need more resources to help us develop this work at local and national level. If young people are offered effective support after a crime, they'll stand a better chance of putting those experiences behind them and grow in confidence as they become adults."
English football fans and visitors to the Euro 2004 tournament, who are affected by crime in any way during their stay, will be able to get help and information in Portugal thanks to a partnership between the country's authorities, British police officers and Victim Support.
A specially trained volunteer from Victim Support Trafford will travel to Portugal. She will be working with local organisations (including the Portuguese police force and the Portuguese victims' association, APAV) and British police officers sent over for the event, to offer support to anyone who needs it. It will then be possible to refer victims to local branches of Victim Support in the UK on their return, if more help is required.
This initiative has been set up by Victim Support Trafford where staff and volunteers have considerable experience in dealing with football crowd-related incidents. They will also build on the knowledge gained of large-scale sporting events after Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games two years ago.
Vicky Wardle of Victim Support Trafford says: "Being a victim of a crime in a foreign country can be very disturbing. We'll make sure that our contact numbers and leaflets are readily available throughout the tournament to ensure that anyone who needs help gets it."
Victims of crime are being encouraged to get practical help and support at 'drop-in' centres in ASDA supermarkets, as part of a new initiative between the leading retailer and the national charity, Victim Support.
Staff and volunteers from Victim Support will be available to offer support to supermarket customers in and around London and at other selected stores across the country. The participating branches provide a visible stall in the foyer area of each store and private rooms for free and confidential face-to-face support.
The new scheme has already proved successful in providing effective support for a number of victims, who said the initiative was their first port of call for help by offering a safe and anonymous environment to talk about their experiences. Victim Support says it is particularly keen to help people who have not reported the crime to the police.
The scheme is currently operating in ten London stores and several stores outside the capital. It is hoped that the scheme will eventually be extended to all 652 ASDA stores nationwide.
Clive West, Stores of the Community Director at ASDA comments: "The Victim Support scheme is a further extension of ASDA's commitment to working closely with local communities."
"We've had an overwhelming response from victims of crime seeking advice in an informal and relaxed environment, who may not have otherwise found the confidence to seek help. We hope to build on this success in many more stores across the country."
Chief Executive Officer at Victim Support London, Anne Coughlan, says: "Judging by the early feedback to this scheme, we were right in thinking that many thousands of people in London have felt unable to seek support and advice to help them deal with the impact of crime. We're delighted that this new partnership with ASDA is already proving very successful in reaching out to people who may not otherwise have contacted us."
British personnel at service bases in England, Wales and Germany will now be offered support and information at courts martial under a new agreement between Victim Support and the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force.
Trained staff and volunteers from the Witness Service, run by Victim Support, will provide practical help and emotional support to witnesses and victims acting as witnesses - as well as family members and friends - to help them cope with the experience of giving evidence at a trial.
The agreement between the armed forces and the national charity will formalise and expand the Courts Martial Witness Service, which has already been operating successfully for some time at several bases, including Plymouth, Aldershot, Colchester, Catterick, Bulford and Portsmouth. Courts Martial Witness Service volunteers based in Surrey also provide a service to military court centres in Germany.
Brigadier Peter Walker OBE, who has management responsibility for the administration of army and RAF trials, says: "We want our service personnel to know that they'll receive exactly the same quality of support as witnesses in criminal and civil courts. The Witness Service has a very positive and reassuring effect on courts martial, because service personnel, their families and civilians attending military courts know that their needs for support and understanding are being met. And ultimately, that's good for morale."
Stephen Hanvey, Head of Members' Services at Victim Support, says: "We're very pleased that we've been able to develop the Courts Martial Witness Service after finalising this agreement with the armed forces. Everybody feels that this type of service is essential, because it will ensure that personnel are being treated fairly, no matter where they're based.
"A soldier in Colchester or a naval officer in Plymouth can now expect to receive the same level of support when they're called to give evidence. Appearing at a trial can unnerve and intimidate anyone, whatever their rank or experience, so it's clear that all witnesses have their needs."
Since 2002, the Witness Service has had a presence in every criminal court in England and Wales to offer support to civilian witnesses and victims of crime. Last year, its staff and volunteers offered support, information and practical help to more than 330,000 people.
Victim Support has produced new guidelines to help its member charities across England and Wales provide a comprehensive service to both male and female victims of domestic violence.
The national charity has worked with a range of specialists, including its own staff and other organisations, to produce Practice guidance for supporting victims of domestic violence, which includes sections on forms of abuse, safety, the perpetrators of domestic violence, support for parents and disabled people, and working with young victims.
The guidelines describe Victim Support's standards and requirements for delivering a service to victims and outline the services offered by Victim Support branches across the country, as well as practice guidance for supporting young victims and Victim Support's role in partnership work with other agencies.
Victims of domestic violence will receive emotional support, information about other relevant agencies, help with producing safety plans and time to consider their options in a safe place, support in court through the charity's Witness Service (if people choose to take legal action), and help for victims who apply for criminal injuries compensation.
Victim Support's Head of Research & Development, Peter Dunn, says: "We constantly strive to improve our services to all victims and witnesses of crime, so these guidelines will build on what we already know and help our staff and volunteers provide a safe, confidential and relevant service within a tight, new framework. Domestic violence has a devastating effect on victims' lives and affects both men and women from all backgrounds, ages and classes. As well as continuing to support female victims of domestic violence, we also want to reach out to male victims, people in same-sex relationships and older people who are abused by their children, to help them regain control of their lives."
Despite recent improvements in the criminal justice system, the victims of around 7 million crimes a year are still left to cope largely on their own, warns Victim Support today (26 February 2019). The issue is highlighted in a new report 30:30 vision published to mark Victim Support Week and the charity's 30th anniversary. The report looks at progress in helping victims and witnesses since the first Victim Support scheme was set up in Bristol in 1974. Since then, Victim Support has grown into a national voluntary service with a presence in all parts of the country and its Witness Service in every criminal court.
Victim Support has welcomed the many important improvements which are being put in place for victims and witnesses whose cases go to court. However, the charity warns that the millions of victims and witnesses whose offenders are not brought to justice are often left to cope alone. These include victims of racist, sexual or domestic crimes who fear reprisals if they go to the police, as well as the majority of victims whose crimes are never solved. For these people, improvements in the criminal justice system are of no benefit, leaving them dependent on charities such as Victim Support.
Currently Victim Support, the major national provider of services to victims and witnesses, receives £30 million a year from the Government to help fund its services - which represents just £1 for every £500 of public money spent on the criminal justice system. The charity also raises around £9 million a year through fundraising, and continues to work to push this figure higher.
Victim Support has almost 12,000 trained volunteers and 1,000 staff to deliver its services. But, many more volunteers and extra funds are urgently needed just to keep pace with dramatically increasing demands. In addition, the charity would like to reach far more victims of unreported crime to offer the services that many so desperately need. New funds need to be found to provide additional specialist services which have been developed by the charity. These include:
"The Government deserves to be congratulated for its work in ensuring that victims and witnesses will receive better treatment in the criminal justice system. We lobbied for this to happen and it is a very positive result in our short history," said Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support. "But society as whole, including the media, local government and the public services, now need to change their agendas and recognise that the effects of crime, if neglected, can do untold damage to individuals, families and to entire communities. Victim Support has achieved a great deal. But with more support we could improve the lives of many of those who now struggle to cope with the devastating effects of crime alone."
The national charity, Victim Support, welcomes the 'No witness, no justice' project, which will now be extended to all 42 criminal justice areas in England and Wales, following pilots in Essex, Gwent, North Wales, South Yorkshire and West Midlands.
Under the new joint Crown Prosecution Service/police initiative, witnesses to crime will be assessed according to their needs and, through a witness care unit, offered a single point of contact for information and access to support.
The Chief Executive of Victim Support, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, says:"We're very encouraged to hear that witnesses will be able to call one number for information about their case. We've long called for this type of service, because witnesses must be treated with respect, provided with accurate information and not kept in the dark.
"We know from the pilots that this kind of service will increase the number of people referred to our Witness Service for support and practical help, and bring them to us earlier. This is very good news indeed, but there is a major pitfall that needs to be addressed. Extra referrals will mean extra work for our trained staff and volunteers at a time when the Home Office has effectively frozen our funding. Without extra resources, it will become difficult to deal with the extra referrals from the witness care units and that may result in some people missing out on the help to which we believe they are entitled. It will also damage witnesses' expectations and affect confidence in the criminal justice system, which is not a good thing, as we know the government agrees."
The relatives and friends of Harold Shipman's victims have today been speaking to their local branch of Victim Support about their feelings at the news of his death. The manager of Victim Support and Witness Service Tameside, Helen Ogborn MBE, and her team of staff and volunteers supported hundreds of family members and friends before, during and after the Shipman murders and trial.
Helen Ogborn says; "Harold Shipman didn't serve his full time in prison and now, the families and friends will never get the full information they needed about their loved ones. As a result, many people say they feel cheated and there's also a sense of relief, but many feel guilty at feeling relief at the news.
"Victim Support is committed to providing support and practical help to everyone affected directly and indirectly by his terrible crimes, which had a devastating effect on this community. If they need support, I would urge them to call Victim Support Tameside or the national telephone service, Victim Supportline on 0845 30 30 900."
For further information, please contact:
Helen Ogborn, Tameside Victim Support and Witness Service, telephone 0161 339 1190, or Andrew Buckingham, Media & PR Officer, 020 7896 3750; mobile 07736 211148; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commenting on the publication of the Audit Commission report Victims and witnesses: providing better support today, Chief Executive of Victim Support Dame Helen Reeves DBE said:
"While we welcome the Audit Commission investigation, we are disappointed that their report has failed to recognise that meeting the needs of victims and witnesses is an important and worthwhile objective in itself.
"The report gives examples of victims and witnesses feeling alienated by the criminal justice system, but the Commission appears to say that the principle reason for treating victims and witnesses better is to try to secure more convictions. While an effective prosecution system is important to many victims, this approach is indicative of seeing victims and witnesses purely as a means to an end within the criminal justice system, rather than citizens who need and deserve support in their own right.
"We were also not surprised to find that the Audit Commission identified widespread shortcomings across the criminal justice system in helping victims and witnesses. The Government has announced its intention to make improvements, but there is a considerable gap between the intention and the current reality."Better co-ordination and more dedicated resources are essential. But so is a complete culture change both inside and outside the limited reach of criminal justice."
The national charity Victim Support welcomes many of the measures for victims of crime, which have been set out in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill, which is published today (2 December 2019).
It is our belief that the safety of victims of domestic violence is of paramount importance. Safety planning needs to be the first consideration of any agency that comes into contact with the victim, or takes actions or makes decisions which affect them.
We support the proposal to allow courts to impose a restraining order if a victim is in need of protection. At present, even if a case goes through the criminal courts, no consideration is given to the victim's safety at the end of the process. The current distinction between civil and criminal cases is very confusing for victims and can leave them in danger.
In addition, Victim Support welcomes the suggestion of creating a register of civil orders. The Crown Prosecution Service and the police are currently hampered by having insufficient information available to enable them to deal appropriately when called to an incident, or when considering whether to charge, oppose bail or prosecute.
We are very pleased that the Government is proposing to create both a Commissioner for victims and a statutory code to put rights for victims of crime on a statutory footing. Victim Support has been calling for these proposals for some time.
To be effective, Victim Support believes that the Commissioner should have the power to require all government departments (including those responsible for health and housing, for example) to have pro-victim and witness policies and procedures, and for the Code to be expanded over time to reflect this.
Victim Support welcomes the measures for victims and witnesses announced in the Queen's Speech today. In particular:
We welcome the creation of a post of Commissioner to speak up for the interests of victims and witnesses of crime. In order to be as effective as possible, we believe the Commissioner should:
We welcome the introduction of measures to modernise the laws on domestic violence. We hope that this will result in a more joined-up response by the criminal justice and civil systems so that victims of domestic violence will have more protection before, during and after the court process. Victim Support considers that the safety of the victim of domestic violence is of paramount importance. Victim safety planning should be the first consideration of any agency that comes into contact with domestic violence victims, or takes action or makes decisions that affect them. The victim must also be fully involved in safety planning.
We are surprised that there was no reference in the Queen's Speech to the introduction of statutory rights for victims of crime which were promised in the Government's recently published strategy, A new deal for victims and witnesses. Victim Support has long campaigned for statutory rights for victims of crime and we hope that this remains on the legislative agenda, despite not being highlighted today.
People who should be eligible for state compensation as victims of violent crimes are missing out as a result of unfair rules, according to a report published today (25 November 2019) by the charity Victim Support. The report, Insult to injury, details three ways in which the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) discriminates against certain groups of victims - namely some victims of sexual crimes, people on means-tested benefits, and people abused before October 1979 by someone living in the family home.
The charity believes these compensation rules are unjustifiable and turn a system that is meant to acknowledge the pain and suffering people have been through into one that re-victimises them. The Government is being urged to tackle the problems in its forthcoming review of the CICS.
The three main problems highlighted in the report are that:
Insult to injury raises other concerns, such as the fact that children who lose a parent through violent crime may be denied compensation if the parent had a criminal record. And loss-of-earnings rules on compensation treat the self-employed and those on temporary contracts unfairly.
"The Government has said that it intends to carry out a review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme," said Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support. "We urge them to use this opportunity to remedy these unethical and frankly indefensible anomalies in the compensation rules. Otherwise, those who have already suffered from acts of violence will continue to be subject to discrimination at the hands of the very system that is meant to demonstrate society's concern for them. For those who fall foul of the rules, the current system is nothing short of re-victimisation."
MPs from across England and Wales will today (Friday 14 November 2019) meet staff and volunteers at local branches of Victim Support to find out how the national charity helps people cope with the effects of crime.
During the 'MPs Day' event, staff and volunteers will talk about their involvement with Victim Support, and explain how they provide support, information and practical help to people affected by crime, including burglary, domestic violence, sexual assault, and murder.
Nationally, the charity offers its service to more than 1.75 million people every year through local branches, the Witness Service (based in every criminal court in England and Wales) and the telephone service, Victim Supportline.
The event, which has been promoted to MPs by Graham Allen, who represents Nottingham North, has attracted messages of support from the Home Secretary and his Conservative and Liberal Democrat colleagues. The Rt. Hon. David Blunkett MP said; "The Government appreciates the work of the staff and volunteers at Victim Support, who provide a valuable service for victims and witnesses. The Victim Support 'MPs Day' offers an opportunity for Members of Parliament to meet representatives from their local branches to find out more about their work. I fully support this day and encourage all MPs to participate."
The Conservative MP, Dominic Grieve, welcomed the event and paid tribute to Victim Support's "excellent service", while Liberal Democrat MP, Simon Hughes, commented that the charity's services provide "immense help" to those affected by crime.
Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support, says; "Ever since Victim Support began life almost thirty years ago, its staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide an excellent service to people in their local communities. Our thousands of volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation, and I am very encouraged that so many MPs have accepted the invitations to thank everyone personally for their work to support constituents who have been victims of crime."
100% of the profits raised from Victim Support's 2003 Christmas card range will go to the charity that helps victims of crimes, such as rape and domestic violence.
This year's range of cards incorporates a mix of traditional, contemporary, and humorous designs, offering something for everyone. Prices for packs of ten cards range from £2.50 to £3.95. Wrapping paper is also available at £2.95 for five sheets, with matching tags. To request a free copy of Victim Support's Christmas card catalogue please call 020 7896 3703. Alternatively you can view and buy online at http://www.victimsupport.org.uk/about_us/fundraising/shop.php.
On Monday 4 August Victim Support relaunched its website. The site provides information on a wide range of crimes, including hate crime, crime against children, domestic violence and rape. It includes practical information on criminal justice procedures, such as going to court and how to claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation. There is also advice on dealing with the emotional impact of crime, including free leaflets to download.
The site is unique in that it acts as a gateway to around 50 regional Victim Support websites. This means that victims and witnesses can get online information, day or night, from their local community. For more information visit www.victimsupport.org
The national charity, Victim Support, has produced comprehensive new guidelines for supporting young victims of crime to help its affiliated local charities manage the services they provide across England and Wales.
Staff and volunteers from Victim Support have worked closely over a twelve-month period with the main childrens' charities and voluntary organisations, and consulted with the Association of Directors of Social Services to draw up the documents. They include:
Peter Dunn, Head of Research and Development, says; "We can help young people to put their experience of being a victim of crime behind them by improving our ability to offer them the right kind of emotional support, practical help and information."
"There are very few community resources and services for helping young victims of crime, so Victim Support decided to bridge the gap by producing these essential resources for our members. We're very pleased with the work and in particular, the Young people's support pack, because we believe it's the first time that anyone has attempted to design a tool for assessing the needs of young victims."
Victim Support welcomes the Government's strategy for victims and witnesses published today. Many of the developments it proposes are things that we have long campaigned for or reflect our original ideas. We consider the degree to which we have influenced the rights agenda for victims and witnesses to be a great success for a charity.
Things we particularly welcome in the strategy include:
The proposed move to localised funding for services to witnesses (and in due course victims) through the local Criminal Justice Boards will be a major change and will present challenges. Although many of the details still need to be ironed-out, we are committed to working closely with the Government during the piloting of this new approach. Our aim is to maintain the high standards of service that we have developed for the Witness Service so that witnesses continue to receive the level of support we believe they deserve. We will also continue to press for adequate resources, across the board, for witness and victim services.
Commenting on publication of the strategy, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said; "We are delighted to see so many of our proposals for victim and witness rights and services adopted in the Government's new strategy. This is a time of great change for victims and witnesses, and indeed our charity. We remain committed to our core aims for meeting the needs of victims and witnesses, and to continue working closely with the Government to ensure that services and rights for victims and witnesses continue to grow, develop and improve."
Victim Support's President HRH The Princess Royal will be speaking at the New Horizons in Victimology conference in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, this week. The conference, which runs from 13 - 18 July, is an annual event which brings together organisations and individuals from around the world who specialise in supporting victims of crime. The Princess Royal will be representing Victim Support as one of the world leaders in working with victims of crime.
Hundreds of members of the national charity, Victim Support, will discuss the benefits of sharing their skills and expertise with other agencies when they meet at the organisation's annual National Conference next month.
The guest speakers are drawn from victims' services, healthcare and law, and will talk about 'working in partnership' as a means of providing an effective response for victims of crime. The Director of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, Peter Saunders, will be joined at the opening session by Dr Rupert Evans from the University Hospital of Wales, and Barbara Esam, from the NSPCC's Public Policy unit. Michael Dawson, who heads Victim Support Services Inc in South Australia, will close the conference with a presentation about the work of his organisation.
During the three-day event at the University of Warwick in Coventry, Victim Support's members will attend seminars and workshops on topics including domestic violence, supporting young victims of crime, criminal injuries compensation and working with the media.
The Chair of Victim Support, Terry Mansfield CBE, will open the conference on Tuesday 1 July and the charity's Chief Executive, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, will chair the closing session on Thursday 3 July, following Michael Dawson's presentation.
Terry Mansfield CBE said; "I am delighted to be attending my first Victim Support National Conference since I took over as Chair of the Board of Trustees six months ago. Working in partnership is a key theme for Victim Support's work, so we know that making the most of this golden opportunity to network and exchange information is key for so many delegates."
Dame Helen said; "With volunteers' time stretched to the limit, it is vital that we work with all the other organisations which can provide help to victims of crime. We can all learn from each other and from the experiences of victim services in other countries. By working together, we have far more chance of bringing about the changes which victims so desperately need."
The national charity, Victim Support, welcomes the measures put forward in Safety and justice: the government's proposals on domestic violence to help victims of domestic violence, and the emphasis that it places on the safety of victims and the commitment to provide support for those affected by the crime.
Victim Support agrees that there is a need to look beyond the criminal justice process - to issues concerning education, housing and health, and to consider the way in which all agencies respond to people affected by domestic violence. It is vital that all agencies are fully aware of the risks and difficulties faced by victims, their children and their extended families. The government should focus on effective inter-agency working and communication to help break the cycle of domestic violence. It should also ensure that individuals in all agencies are properly trained to understand the true nature of domestic violence, so that victims are treated in a holistic way and given appropriate support and information.
In particular, Victim Support welcomes the strategy emphasising the need for protection of victims. We would hope that this will be enhanced by the proposal that common law assault be made an arrestable offence, and that there should be stronger legal protection in relation to the use of restraining and non-molestation orders. Better co-ordination is needed between the criminal and civil courts to allow victims an easy route to obtain the protection of injunctions where the criminal process is underway or has been concluded.
A register of civil orders is another welcome development that, in our view, would be more useful than a register of offenders. Additional funding for services is a clear priority.
Victim Support continues to provide support for victims in three ways: through its local member charities across the UK; through its criminal court-based Witness Service; and through its national helpline, the Victim Supportline (0845 30 30 900). Last year, we offered our services to 59,392 victims of domestic violence via our local branches; and the Victim Supportline received 1,965 calls from people affected by domestic violence.
Victim Support welcomes the Public Accounts Committee report for highlighting the fact that there has been no Government strategy for national victim and witness services. This has long been a concern of Victim Support.
Responding to the report, the charity's Chief Executive, Dame Helen Reeves DBE said: "The UK is an acknowledged world leader in quality services for victims and witnesses. We have the most comprehensive provisions in the world and provide the model for other countries which are developing victim and witness services. The reason for this is that Victim Support has developed and implemented its own strategies for helping victims and witnesses. Our policy advice to Government has also been valued and influential - forming the basis of most Government policies and initiatives.
"Victim Support is currently facing hugely increased pressures from government and elsewhere. For example, we are meeting the needs of more people affected by violent crime; we support over 14,000 people a year in the long and complex task of applying to the Government's own Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme with no allocated funding for doing it; and we are expected to do hugely increased work in supporting vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in line with the Government's own special measures for this group.
"Despite this, we have been told by the Home Office that we will receive no additional resources for the next three years and have just received a real-term cut of around 3% in our funding for 2003-2004. This is having an immediate impact on services with a number of local branch closures already announced and the possibility of redundancies in our affiliated charities, which deliver our front-line services. Clearly this will have a very direct impact on the help that victims and witnesses receive.
"The PAC's report recognises that our service level varies from place to place, as did the National Audit Office. We brought this to their attention, as we have done with the Government, precisely because we ourselves know that this is an unacceptable situation. But without more core funding, and greater clarity over what exactly our central Government grant pays for, it is difficult for us to persuade different local authorities to fund our work consistently. Many mistakenly believe that central Government funding covers everything.
"It is vital for the Government to have a strategy and that Victim Support is ensured an appropriate place in that strategy, backed up by the resources that we need to provide the sustained, excellent service that victims and witnesses deserve."
One in four young people aged 12 to 16 has been a victim of crime in the last year, according to new research published today (19 February 2019) by Victim Support to mark Victim Support Week. The survey, commissioned in association with Direct Line Home Insurance, marks the start of a campaign by the charity to introduce nationwide support services for all young people who have been affected by crime.
The research, carried out by NOP on over 400 young people across England and Wales, reveals some worrying trends. It suggests that the level of crime against this age group is consistent over time (similar numbers said the crime was up to three, six or twelve months ago), widespread and that it affects both boys and girls equally. Almost half (42%) of those who have been victims had been subjected to repeat incidents - with some reporting more than five incidents in the past year.
Of those who had been a victim of crime, the most common offences reported include violence and assault (54%), or theft (43% ). Five percent said that it was a sexual offence. Only 2% of victims specifically reported a mobile phone related crime, but many more who simply said that they had been a victim of theft or robbery could have been the victim of phone theft.
The survey also focused on how young people were affected by being a victim and where they went to get help, support and information. Almost two thirds (61%) said that they felt angry after the crime. Four out of ten (41%) said that they felt upset, a third (30%) shocked and one in five reported feeling frightened or worried (22% and 19%).
On a more positive note, the majority of the young people surveyed said that if they had been a victim, or were to become one, they would tell someone rather than suffering in silence - just 6% had told no one that a crime had happened. Of those who had already been a victim, 71% had told a parent or guardian, and 52% a friend. Four out of ten had told the police (40%) and around a third (29%) had told a teacher. But few had received specialist help from Victim Support or similar agencies, with just three out of the total sample group (less than 1%) having spoken to a professional support worker.
However, having heard more about Victim Support, an overwhelming 85% of all the young people surveyed said that they would find this kind of support helpful. Specifically they said that they would appreciate help in coping with their feelings after a crime (64%), advice or information (50%) or someone to speak to in confidence (49%). A quarter of the group (25%) said that they would like help dealing with schools, the police and other officials and a similar number (24%) wanted help in explaining the crime to parents. Yet according to the survey, six out of ten (60%) had never heard of Victim Support. This is in stark contrast to awareness of Victim Support among adults - according to the British Crime Survey  three quarters of the adult population (74%) are aware of the charity.
Commenting on the findings, Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support said, "It is clear that young people are more likely to suffer crime than adults and that their needs are being neglected. Even when they do go to the police it seems that they are not being referred for help. This can affect their attitudes to other people for the rest of their lives. It is vital that we act now to prevent any further neglect."
"This survey highlights the extent to which crime is now affecting young people and strengthens our case for extending our work to offer specialist help for this age group," added Peter Dunn, Head of Research and Development at Victim Support. "We are in the middle of developing pilot projects specifically aimed at young people. But we need government and public support to roll-out these services nationally. We also need to make sure that young people know that there are confidential and independent sources of help if they should become a crime victim."
Gill Murphy, spokesperson for Direct Line (who sponsored the research) commented, "It is worrying to see the extent to which young people are subjected to often serious and disturbing crimes. We're delighted to be working with Victim Support to raise awareness of this problem and to highlight the impact of crime on young people and their families."
The charity plans to launch a number of pilot schemes for young victims around the country later this year. Last year Victim Support's Witness Service helped almost 23,000 young people under 18 attending court as witnesses.
A new report released today by the national charity for victims of crime, Victim Support, explains how the organisation worked behind the scenes to support the families of Harold Shipman's victims.
Support after Shipman: the role of Victim Support and the Witness Service gives an insight into the practical problems that charities face in responding to sudden and tragic events on this scale, as well as giving valuable lessons for all caring organisations in preparing for the unexpected.
The report will be unveiled today at a press conference held by Victim Support Tameside and Preston Crown Court Witness Service at 11.00am at The Village Hotel in Hyde. Speakers including James Purnell, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, and the report's author, Lyn Brown, will outline the main findings.
It explains how Victim Support and Witness Service colleagues worked together to support the victims' families and friends before, during and after the trial; and looks at the work of other agencies, including the coroner's court and the police; and the relationship between the media, the families and the Witness Service.
Victim Support in Tameside has now offered its services to more than 700 people connected with the Shipman case. Preston Crown Court Witness Service (also run by Victim Support) provided support and practical information to 300 witnesses, and arranged pre-trial courtroom visits for most of the families to help them cope with the trauma of giving evidence.
Lisa Westoby, co-ordinator of Preston Crown Court Witness Service, said; "Shipman had a devastating effect on thousands of people and although the trial is over, the misery that he caused will be felt for many years. I'm very grateful to my colleagues in the Witness Service and Victim Support Tameside, as well as the coroner's office and the police, for their help. We've had very encouraging feedback from the families, and I'm pleased that we could help them through a very traumatic time."
Copies of the report priced at £7.00, are available from the Resources Administrator, Victim Support National Office, Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London, SW9 6DZ.
Support after Shipman: the role of Victim Support and the Witness Service was researched and written by Lyn Brown, Department of Primary Care, Community Studies Unit, University of Liverpool.
Victim Support welcomes the publication of the National Audit Office's (NAO's) new report into our services, the way we run them, and our relationship with the Home Office. We are acutely aware of the fact that we receive substantial public funding, for the benefit of local communities, and were happy to be independently reviewed both in the name of public interest and to help us to ensure that we are being as efficient and effective as possible.
We are particularly pleased that the NAO has acknowledged so many of the successes and positive benefits of Victim Support. Our volunteers will undoubtedly be delighted to hear the NAO's description of their "dedication and professionalism" and our "notable achievement for the voluntary charitable movement", for which our volunteers must take much of the credit. We recognise some of the issues that have been raised too. And because we share the NAO's concerns about areas such as reaching out to victims of unreported crimes, and monitoring local performance, we are already working to try to resolve some of the problems.
The major restructuring we are just in the process of completing has simplified the organisation and left us with around 50 'Area' member charities rather than over 400 as we had just a few years ago. This reorganisation is already bringing us significant benefits and will, along with the setting up of our new Quality and Standards Department, go a very long way to improving both monitoring and standardisation of our services.
We share the NAO's concerns about the difficulties of recruiting volunteers. This is a difficult task for most charities. Despite the apparent fall in numbers in recent years, we should recognise the huge success we had in recruiting new people during the massive expansion of the Witness Service. We are confident that the move to Area charities will bring a more co-ordinated approach to volunteer recruitment.
We are also pleased that the NAO have recognised some of the problems presented by the late announcement of our grant by the Home Office. For many years this has considerably hindered our planning processes. It is very helpful to have these difficulties independently confirmed and highlighted.
We look forward to further discussing all the issues raised in the report not only with the Home Office but with the other agencies with which we work so closely, and to finding new solutions and approaches to improving our core task of helping people cope with crime.
Copies of Helping victims and witnesses: the work of Victim Support [pdf copy] are available from the date of publication on the NAO website at www.nao.gov.uk. Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.
Britons holidaying abroad in Europe this summer should benefit from improved help and support if they become a victim of crime, thanks to new EU policies, according to a report published today (26 June 2019) by Victim Support. But the report warns that as well as bringing benefits for those travelling abroad, our own services for victims of crime, including visitors from overseas, need improvement to meet the new EU-wide standards.
The report, New rights for victims of crime in Europe, has been produced jointly by Victim Support national charities across the UK and Ireland to highlight the impact of the little-publicised EU Council Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings, which came into effect in March this year. Victim Support played a significant role in lobbying the EU to introduce the Framework and in advising on its development.
The Framework aims to standardise services for victims of crime, both residents and overseas visitors, which currently vary greatly across the EU. It gives the one in four EU citizens who become a victim of crime each year rights to:
All EU states should, by now, have minimum standards of assistance in place. For victims this should mean being treated with respect by officials, having the right to play a part in any criminal proceedings, and being given information about what support and access to justice is available.
Although most provisions within the Framework came into effect this year, some will be phased-in more gradually. For example, rights to assistance with communication difficulties and access to free legal advice do not come into effect until 2004, and measures on mediation until 2006. According to the report, however, many countries in the EU will need to do considerable development work just to ensure that they meet the requirements already in place.
The report highlights, through real-life examples, the wide range of problems in the various criminal justice and victim support systems throughout Europe. In the case of the UK and Ireland, despite some of the most advanced services for victims in Europe, victims who are not witnesses currently miss out on many benefits as the law does not deem them to be 'civil parties' in legal proceedings, as is the case elsewhere in the EU.
On the positive side, the report gives examples of state-of-the-art help for victims, such as Victim Support Ireland's support service for tourists. This helps visitors to the country who become victims of crime with, among other things, language difficulties, replacement of stolen items and travel and accommodation problems.
"Becoming a victim of crime is a bad experience at any time. But to have it happen miles from home in a country where you do not know the law or the language can be devastating," said Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive of Victim Support. "Victim Support organisations throughout Europe have always worked closely together to try to ensure a joined-up service for people who fall victim to crime abroad. Now we need the support of all governments in Europe to help us make this happen."
The report is introduced by the President of the European Parliament, Mr Pat Cox, who makes clear his support not only for the Framework itself, but also the role of the Victim Support report in spelling-out its implications; "I hope that this will provide the basis for establishing support services to victims of crime in each of the accession countries over the coming years".
New rights for victims of crime in Europe is published jointly by the national Victim Support organisations for the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and England Wales and Northern Ireland. Copies are available from all the organisations. For England, Wales and Northern Ireland, contact Victim Support, Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London, SW9 6DZ. Copies can also be downloaded from www.victimsupport.org
The full text of the EU Council Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings (European Union Council of Ministers 2001/220/JHA) can be viewed and downloaded from the European Union On-line website (http://europa.eu.int).
© Victim Support
Page printed: 16 October 2019
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