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A GROUND-BREAKING advocacy service has been commissioned to support victims of crime with mental health needs.
The contract to deliver the service has been awarded to Advocacy Centre North.
The service, launching later this year, will focus on early access to independent advocacy, specifically for people with mental health needs, who become a victim of crime. This support will assist the victim at key decision-making points during their journey across the criminal justice system.
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner (PCVC) is committed to putting services in place that assist and enable people to cope and recover from the impact of the crime to help them regain control of their lives.
Ron said: “Being a victim of crime can impact on many aspects of an individual’s life. While the level of impact will vary depending on the type of crime and an individual’s personal circumstances, victims of crime with mental health needs are deemed to be significantly more likely to report adverse effects than the general population or people with other types of disability.
“That’s why I am delighted to appoint Advocacy Centre North to provide this specialised service across County Durham and Darlington.”
The new service is not intended to replace existing services, but will enhance support to those with mental health needs.
Jacqui Jobson, Direct of Advocacy Centre North, said: “Advocacy Centre North is delighted to be part of this service in County Durham and Darlington. We welcome the pioneering approach by Ron and his team, and their willingness to work with vulnerable victims of crime. We support vulnerable people each day to help them have a voice, access services and know their rights.
“Recent work has shown that victims of crime with mental health needs are particularly disadvantaged within both society and the criminal justice system. Our service aims to help them understand the situation they face, weigh up their choices, make decisions, have their voices heard and overcome stigma.”
National and local research has identified the obstacles often faced by victims with mental health needs when attempting to navigate the processes involved in coping with the immediate aftermath of a crime, long term recovery and engagement with Criminal Justice System processes.
The date for the commencement of the new service will be announced shortly.
Notes to editors:
Posted on Thursday 20th October 2016