National recognition for PCC’s successful work supporting victims of crime.

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November 17, 2022

County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has received national recognition for her improvements to the way victims of crime are supported.

The Commissioner features in a new national publication, PCCs Making a Difference: Victims In Focus, by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) which recognises the positive impact PCCs have on services and support for victims of crime across England and Wales.

Durham is highlighted as an example of best practice in three key areas; advocating for victims, developing innovative services for victims and for using multi-year funding to fund quality services for victims.

The report recognises Commissioner Allen’s decision to appoint three new Victims’ Champions covering Crime, Domestic Abuse and Anti-Social Behaviour to increase the voice of victims’ and help the PCC learn from their lived experiences to improve future services.

Research undertaken by the Victim Champion has already highlighted the challenges of progressing through the Criminal Justice System for victims with a cognitive impairment and the difficulties faced by some victims to get to court including transport, childcare and upfront financial costs.

It also acknowledges the Commissioner’s work to implement a single ‘Front Door’ approach to receiving and triaging referrals for victims and others through the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS).

This approach ensures the needs of victims are assessed centrally and in a timely manner to avoid individuals contacting multiple services. It also enables the Commissioner to make a pro-active offer of support to victims and witnesses of crime following a charging decision and utilises Rape and Serious Sexual Offence Navigators who work closely with local sexual violence support services to reduce the need for victims and survivors to have to retell their stories unnecessarily.

Meanwhile, the report highlighted the Commissioner’s work to provide a multi-year funding deal to the Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre (RSACC) to deliver specialist counselling for victims of sexual violence. The long-term funding commitment enables the service to address the increasing demand for specialist support for survivors of sexual violence and offer staff longer-term contracts to provide workforce stability.

Commenting on the success, Commissioner Allen said: “I am really proud of the improvements we’ve implemented over the last year and the good work taking place on the ground to protect and support those who have suffered through crime.

“Victims of crime are at the heart of everything I do and I am determined to make it easier for people to reach out for the help they need. The criminal justice system can be a daunting experience and the changes we’ve made and continue to make will increase trust and confidence in our services to encourage more victims to come forward in future.

“While it is pleasing to be recognised for our success nationally, there is always room for improvement. I have a three-year plan and will do everything possible to understand and respond to the experiences of survivors and ensure the services we provide are always in their best interests.”

To read the full report see the link below.

Victims in Focus Report

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