Victim Support Manifesto 2001 - Respect, recognition and support

Crime takes many forms and victims and their families react in many different ways. Many, who need time to talk through their experience, will welcome the offer of emotional support. They may also need assistance and support in sorting out the many complex issues that arise from crime. They may have to deal with many different agencies and the sensitivity of these agencies will be important in preventing secondary victimisation. Thus employers, insurance companies, health services, housing agencies, schools, social security and the media all need policies and procedures which recognise the effects of crime and the needs of victims, and their practice and training must reflect this. Health services also need to provide appropriate counselling services, particularly for children. The police response to victims reporting crimes is also important. For example, victims of rape should have access to a dedicated examination suite and a choice as to the gender of the examining doctor. The doctor should also be able to provide appropriate advice about health needs.

Greater understanding of victims' needs for housing transfers

After Sally was stabbed repeatedly in her flat by her ex-partner, she asked her local housing authority for an urgent transfer to alternative accommodation. This was rejected - her housing authority did not seem to recognise how difficult it would be for her to continue to live in the place where the attack had taken place.

Victim Support believes that housing authorities should be more sympathetic to requests for transfers by victims of crime.

Improved insurance systems for victims of burglary

Research has shown that only half of burglary victims who had property stolen or damaged had insurance. Those most at risk of burglary are also those who can least afford insurance.

Victim Support believes that block insurance schemes should be developed, whereby intermediaries such as credit unions, housing associations and local authorities play a part in arranging insurance for their tenants.

Clear crime at work policies

When a shop assistant was slashed in the leg by a customer and taken to hospital, his manager concentrated on getting the blood on the floor cleared up as quickly as possible so that the shop could keep trading, ignoring the needs of the other staff in the shop who were clearly shocked by the violent incident.

Victim Support believes that all employers should have clear policies to reduce the effects of crime at work, which they keep up to date, make staff aware of and implement.

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