Press releases and statements - Recent
You can view the following recent press releases and statements on this page:
- Show your support as Laura runs the London Marathon for Victim Support (3 April 2019)
- The Government wants to hear your views on crime (31 March 2019)
- Victim Support's response to the National Audit Office report into the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (14 December 2019)
- New website gives help and advice for young victims of crime (29 October 2019)
- New resources help teachers raise awareness of the impact of crime (29 October 2019)
- Hoodie or goodie? New research reveals ways to break the cycle of violence among young people (10 October 2019)
- Web-based survey for victims of violent crime (29 June 2019)
- Government hears the voices of vulnerable victims (15 June 2019)
- Anonymous registration for electors protects vulnerable (4 June 2019)
- Pets and partners overtaken by cars, says new survey (27 March 2019)
- Statement - Young people and vulnerable witnesses get support in court (15 February 2019)
- Statement in response to Without consent: a report on the joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences (31 January 2019)
Show your support as Laura runs the London Marathon for Victim Support
Crime Victim Laura Bray from Portsmouth is running the London Marathon on behalf of Victim Support. In Laura’s own words
“As a victim of crime last year my life took a sudden and dramatic change. If it wasn’t for charities like Victim Support who put me in touch with people I could talk to confidentally it would have made my road to recovery at a lot harder. The services they provide are free and invaluable and I want to do my bit to give something back.”
Laura has already raised £91 but there is still time if you would like to show your support by making a donation. To sponsor Laura, visit her fundraising page.
She is also in need of cheering at support points and has said she needs a volunteer to throw jelly babies at her at around the 13 mile mark and another to meet her at the end to help her to walk!
Laura goes on to say:“I said I would never do this again! Especially having to live on a diet of carbs and no alcohol and running 18-23 miles at weekends in the wind and rain. This year Paula Radcliffe has dropped out so at least I have a good chance of winning the prize fund!”
The Government wants to hear your views on crime
The Government is conducting a review into how local communities, the police, local criminal justice agencies and other local partners can best work together to reduce crime, raise community confidence, improve information to the community and reduce the fear of crime. The review will also investigate what encourages people to get involved in tackling problems within their community.
A key part of the review is to gather evidence through the experiences and opinions of the public and importantly, victims of crime. With your help the Government hopes to uncover the answers to some of the questions presented in this review. If you’d like to contribute your views, you can complete an online questionnaire.
If you would like to receive a printed copy of the questionnaire, please email firstname.lastname@example.org giving your full postal address. Or you can write to request a copy at Freepost, PO Box 1748, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 4XR, again stating your full postal address.
(Please note that Victim Support is not directly involved in this survey and therefore we are unable to answer questions about it.)
Victim Support's response to the National Audit Office report into the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
Commenting on the findings of the National Audit Office's (NAO) report into the Government's Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said:
"Victim Support helps over 15,000 people a year to apply for criminal injuries compensation - that's around a quarter of all applicants. So the system and its effectiveness are clearly an issue of great importance for us - as well as the victims of violent crime we represent.
"We have a longstanding, positive and productive relationship with the Authority and, to put today's report in context, know that many improvements are being implemented as we speak. To that extent, we know that today's report very much presents a picture of past problems.
"Nonetheless, the issues the report highlights clearly are serious and will no doubt be of concern to many victims of violent crime who have made a claim or are in the process of doing so. Delays in processing claims are worrying and the long-term increase in turnaround time does need resolving. But there is already evidence that the Authority's new systems will have a very positive impact.
"We are also concerned at the significant discrepancies in terms of who applies. The scheme is available to everyone and these findings suggest that some groups in society are either unaware of their right to claim, or discouraged in some way. This issue needs addressing to make the scheme more accessible to all and we support the NAO's recommendations for greater promotion.
"On the issue of bureaucracy and costs, we know that the Authority recognises the problems. We hope and expect that their new systems will have a beneficial effect. We also accept the need to have a thorough process to make sure that awards of public money are only made to genuine cases.
"This report is important in that it examines the work of a public body playing a crucial role for many victims of crime. But the Authority is to be commended for having set things in motion to resolve the issues well ahead of publication of these findings."
New website gives help and advice for young victims of crime
The charity Victim Support today (29 October) launches new online resources to help 7-14 year-olds deal with crime. The revamped and expanded Are you OK? website includes online games to learn about safety on the streets as well as advice about coping with the effects of crime. Users can also 'Ask Sam', a Victim Support volunteer who can help with worries and questions young people have about crime.
The site was designed with the help of young victims involved in Victim Support's Youth Advisory Group based in Norfolk. Alongside the new website, Victim Support is also launching new classroom resources to help teachers raise awareness of crime, its effects, and how teenagers can get the help if they become a victim.
"People are so caught up in the issue of young offenders that they forget that becoming a victim of crime is now a normal, everyday part of life for teenagers," said Judith Edwards, Strategic Development Manager at Victim Support. "That's not an acceptable situation. We must reach out and help those young people get the support they need - if not, they may turn to offending as our own research suggests. We hope this new website will be part of the solution."
New resources help teachers raise awareness of the impact of crime
The charity Victim Support today launches new guidance and classroom resources to help raise awareness of crime among young people and promote personal safety. The free Education resource pack is targeted at teachers and youth workers. It focuses on crimes most likely to affect young people such as bullying, street crime and violence. It includes lesson plans, role-play exercises and other activities and supports National Curriculum Key Stages 2 and 3. The pack is flexible enough to be used in classrooms, after school clubs or even by young people on their own.
According to Victim Support's own research, around half of 11-16 year olds are victims of crime every year. "School can be dangerous place for many children," says the charity's Strategic Development Manager, Judith Edwards. "This pack will help children learn about keeping safe as well as the impact of crime on different people. Crucially, they will also learn that they are not alone if they, too, fall victim to crime."
The launch of the resource pack follows the publication of Victim Support's Hoodie or goodie? report on 10 October, which found a clear link between victimisation and offending in young people and suggested ways in which 'the cycle of violence' can be broken.The Education resource pack can be downloaded from the charity's revamped website for young people at www.are-you-ok.org.uk.
Hoodie or goodie? New research reveals ways to break the cycle of violence among young people
New research published by the charity Victim Support today (10 October 2019) reveals a complex cycle of violent crime among young people that challenges pre-conceived ideas that young people are simply either victims or offenders. The report Hoodie or goodie? shows that certain attitudes and risk factors can influence whether or not young people are likely to commit violent acts, be on the receiving end, or indeed fall into both categories. It suggests that tackling these lifestyle factors could help reduce levels of violence among the young.
The research project was carried out for the charity by BMRB Social Research. It included a review of previous research into violence among young people followed by interviews and workshops with young people aged from 14 to 18 and with adults who work with them. The researchers looked for common factors or differences between different groups of young people who had carried out violence, been a victim, or both. They also examined whether or not there were consistent ways in which victims turned into offenders and vice versa.
Among the key findings, the study found that:
- Victims can become offenders because of their experience. Causes could include carrying out retaliation on the offender, or against others in a displaced show of strength or emotion. Victims might also make friends with offenders to seek protection, particularly if they were socially isolated, but this could then lead to them committing offences themselves.
- Offenders can often become victims of violence. This is because they are at risk of retaliation and are also unlikely to be protected by adults in authority.
- Many of the risk factors that increase the chances that victims will become offenders are the same as those that make it more likely that offenders will become victims. They include:
- thinking that the only way to deal with anger is through violence or that retaliatory violence is acceptable behaviour
- believing that the police would not help or that their involvement might make things worse.
- Other lifestyle factors can reduce the risk that victims of violence will turn to offending. They include:
- having good family relationships
- having a positive attitude towards school
- taking part in structured activities with adult supervision, and
- having positive attitudes towards the police.
The insight the research gives into the complex inter-relationships involved in young people's experiences of violent crime should help policy makers, schools, youth workers and parents find new ways to help break the cycle of violence. The project also asked young people about their support needs and found that views were similar on how to help both victims and offenders deal with their experiences in a more positive way.
"Some of our findings might look like nothing more than common sense," said project manager Dr Harriet Beecher of Victim Support. "But, this is the first time that we have clear evidence for how the lifestyles, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of young people can help determine whether or not they behave as offenders or victims. It also demolishes the myth that young people are either 'hoodies' or 'goodies' as many clearly have experiences of being both.
"More work needs to be done by lots of different agencies to find appropriate interventions to help young people avoid violence. However, this research gives us a firm foundation for where to direct our energies. More importantly, it offers hope that some focused help, support and re-education can help break the victim/offending cycle and reduce violent behaviour among young people."
Note to editors: Also released today is a survey by the Howard League into the extent of crime against children.
Web-based survey for victims of violent crime
The National Audit Office (NAO), is an independent organisation that audits the financial statements of all government departments and agencies, and many other public bodies. It also reports to Parliament on the value for money with which these bodies have spent public money. The NAO is currently conducting a value for money study on compensating victims of violent crime. The study will cover the work of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel.
As part of the study, the NAO is conducting a short web-based survey of individuals who have been victims of violent crime, including both applicants to the compensation scheme and those who have not applied. They would very much like to hear the views of victims of violent crime on the compensation scheme. The survey, which will run until 10 August 2019, can be accessed at www.nao.org.uk/violentcrimesurvey. It should only take a couple of minutes.
The NAO is planning to publish the report in December 2007, and would like it to reflect the views of as many contributors as possible.
Government hears the voices of vulnerable victims
Yesterday, the Government pledged to review the No secrets guidance on protecting vulnerable adults in light of new research into the scale of elder abuse in the UK.
Victim Support and VOICE UK met with Ivan Lewis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Services last week to raise concerns that the guidance was not as effective as it needs to be, particularly in terms of involving criminal justice agencies early enough in an investigation of alleged abuse.
We are delighted that this has been taken on board and have issued the attached statement in response to the minister's pledge, to the national media.
If you have any questions regarding the media statement, please get in touch with Lucy Winter, Media & PR Manager.
Anonymous registration for electors protects vulnerable
Victims of stalking and domestic violence will benefit from new legislation coming into force this week designed to protect people at risk if their details appear on the electoral register. From 1 June, those at risk can apply to their local authority in England and Wales to be registered anonymously while still being able to vote. The new regulations have been produced with guidance from organisations, including Victim Support.
The charity's Policy Manager, Joanna Perry, says: "Anonymous registration is a big step forward for people who are in fear of their safety, or even their life. We know of situations where a perpetrator has subsequently found the victim and caused considerable distress or further harm and, in some situations, killed them. It is vital that victims who live in fear are informed of the option to register anonymously and still participate in the right to vote that is available to us all."
Lynne, who suffered seven years of violence and abuse from her ex-husband, says: "My abusive ex-husband tracked me down to my new address and used to intimidate me by driving up and down the street. It never crossed my mind he may have got my details from the electoral roll. Knowing that I can now register anonymously and not lose out on the right to vote will make me, and other people in my situation, feel a lot safer."
Elections Minister, Bridget Prentice, says: "Anonymous registration allows even the most vulnerable member of society to exercise their right to vote while giving them the security and peace of mind to know their identity is being protected."
Press release - Pets and partners overtaken by cars, says new survey
New research published today (Tuesday 27 March) shows that some car owners in the UK value their four wheels more than their four-legged friends ... and for some, their cars even come before their partner! The survey has been commissioned by the national charity, Victim Support, and the windscreen repair and replacement expert, Autoglass, to find out more about the impact of car crime on its victims, and to announce their new, three-year partnership.
Ten per cent of car owners say that their car is more precious to them than their pet, and one in twenty (5%) reveal that they think more of their car than their other half. One in five (22%) say they would be 'scared' if their car were broken into or vandalised, and nearly half say they would be 'devastated' (49%) or feel 'personally violated' (47%). If their car windows were smashed as a result of crime, one in four car owners (24%) say that the first thing they would do is contact a glass replacement company, while fewer than half (45%) would call the police. Between the sexes, women are more than twice as likely as men to tell a family member or friend before doing anything else.
More than half (56%) of those surveyed say that they would cope with their experiences within a few days, but nearly one-fifth (18%) think they would need a few weeks to get over it. Over the next three years Autoglass will donate £180,000 to Victim Support, in particular for the Victim Supportline, which gives practical help, information and emotional support to victims of crime and witnesses over the phone. The much-needed funds raised from the partnership will allow Victim Support to recruit and train more volunteers to help and support even more people.
Ken Madine, Head of Fundraising at Victim Support, says: "Many people become very attached to their cars and get upset if they're broken into, or vandalised. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people become victims of car crime and as a charity, we can only help some of them. By supporting us and our national helpline, Autoglass will help us reach out to more victims, and together, we can get them back on the road and get their lives back on track".
The charity is also sharing its expertise and experience in supporting victims and witnesses through a training programme designed for Autoglass. Staff will learn how to respond sensitively to calls from distressed customers who urgently need replacement glass and windscreens, and who may have been victims of crime.
Nigel Doggett, Managing Director of Autoglass, says: "Our customer service advisors handle calls from around 700 victims of car crime every day, many of whom are understandably distressed. By partnering with Victim Support, our advisors will get expert training so that they can give every customer a world class service. And we are really pleased to be able to give this boost to the Victim Supportline, so that more victims can get support".
Statement - Young people and vulnerable witnesses get support in court
Increasing numbers of young people and witnesses at risk of intimidation are receiving help and support to help them cope with giving evidence during criminal trials. Nearly 5,000 more vulnerable and intimidated witnesses (including children and victims of domestic violence) were helped in the last twelve months by the charity's Witness Service, bringing the total to nearly 52,000. Over 28,000 young people under 18 were helped by the court-based service, which is an increase of nearly 4,000 on last year.
The Witness Service gives emotional support, practical help and answers to their questions. We know that well-supported witnesses and victims feel more relaxed and give better evidence. Staff and trained volunteers at the Witness Service give a free and confidential service to witnesses, victims, their families and friends at every criminal court in England and Wales.
Vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, including children, often have specific needs to help them cope with the court process, such as screens that shield them from the defendant, or video-link evidence, so they don't have to go into the courtroom. The Witness Service can help witnesses through the process, using 'special measures', by identifying their needs in advance, or on the day, by working closely with the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the witness care units.
This was recognised at the 2006 Justice Awards on 24 November last year. Two of the three awards won by Victim Support and the Witness Service praised the vital support that the organisation gives to young people in court. Jan Howell, a volunteer in the Young Witness Service in Greater Manchester won the award for outstanding achievement in caring for witnesses (individual). And the Young Witness Service, run by Victim Support Nottinghamshire, won the award for outstanding achievement in caring for witnesses (team).
Statement in response to Without consent: a report on the joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences
By Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI)
Joanna Perry, Policy Manager at Victim Support says: "We are shocked to see so many rape complaints are being recorded as 'no crime' by some police forces, especially at a time when conviction rates for rape - and confidence in the criminal justice system - are appallingly low. Many victims still say they are being treated with ignorance and scepticism by police officers, healthcare professionals and barristers. And too few victims get essential support or are confused about the issue of consent. We broadly welcome the Government's proposals. For example, the proposed change to the statutory definition of capacity to consent to sexual intercourse would encourage police and the Crown Prosecution Service to be more proactive in finding evidence and allow the system to be more flexible in the case of victims who are extremely drunk, rather than only in cases where they are unconscious.
"However, we believe that they will only go so far towards improving access to justice and support for victims of rape and sexual assault. What we want to see is the police taking all rape complaints seriously from the outset. Police training and good practice that encourages the police to take a positive approach to building rape cases is the cornerstone of achieving robust convictions and reducing the number of cases that are dismissed. Victim Support works with thousands of victims of sexual assault each year. When someone comes to us, we take them seriously right from the start.
"A change in people's attitudes - both within the criminal justice system and in wider society - is also long overdue and would lead to more rape victims having the confidence to report the crime at an earlier stage. This would increase the opportunity for gathering crucial forensic evidence. In addition, victims' health and support needs - such as emergency contraception and tests for sexually transmitted infections - must be identified and met earlier. This, in turn, is more likely to improve their ability to cope with their experiences, and their ability to engage with the criminal justice process".
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