Victims of crime in County Durham and Darlington, who suffer from poor mental health are benefitting from additional support, thanks to a dedicated Mental Health Development Worker, whose post is funded by Durham Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Ron Hogg.
Mr Hogg said: "It is vitally important that victims of crime suffering from poor mental health get the support they need, at such a difficult time in their lives. Research commissioned by Mind and Victim Support indicates that, nationally, 45 per cent of those suffering from serious mental health were victims of crime last year.
"I am pleased that by funding this post, local victims suffering from poor mental health are getting the fundamental support they need."
Mental health is now one of the key areas of focus in his refreshed Police and Crime Plan for 2015-17, for both victims and offenders locally. The plan will ensure that victims with mental health concerns receive the necessary support when they come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Ami Dodd, the mental health caseworker took up post in September last year and works with Victim Support to provide specialised one-to-one support for victims with mental ill health across County Durham and Darlington, a first of its kind in the region. To date, many individuals have been provided with enhanced support that bridges the gap between mental health services and the criminal justice system.
Ami said: “Being able to easily access consistent, compassionate and enhanced support at crucial times without having to re-live and repeat their experiences at each stage is imperative in improving the experience of vulnerable victims of crime.”
Further work to improve services for victims with mental ill health will follow once the recommendations from local research with victims and partner organisations undertaken over the past six months are published.
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