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How victims access help and support after being affected by crime is changing in West Mercia.

In a month’s time (1st April), the new Victim Advice Line (VAL) will be going live and those needing support can access the free and confidential service and receive a care package that is bespoke to them.

Recognising the needs of victims are different, the VAL will work with the victim and allow them to have greater ownership of their journey by allowing them to shape it themselves – as opposed to being labelled by a type of crime and having a ‘one size fits all’ support package. Those that need someone to talk to also don’t have to have reported the crime to the police.

This new service is part of Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion’s commitment to ensuring victims of crime receive an improved and more consistent service, and is also a model that is being seen as best practice and a flagship across the country in delivering support to victims, having already been adopted by other PCCs and police forces.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “We carried out a consultation with victims to ask them what they wanted from a support service. So, in order to make sure we could do that, we needed to make some fundamental changes.

“The Victim Advice Line will look at an individual and make sure they’re getting the level of support they need. By doing this we hope to give victims greater confidence and satisfaction that will help in moving forward with their life.

“The service will also allow better multi-agency working, such as with the police and other support services, which will ensure victims are supported throughout the entire criminal justice system from the very beginning of their journey through to the end. Whilst the VAL will take the initial referral, dependent on the type of crime and level and length of support required, they may then be referred onto specialist providers such as Victim Support, Axis, West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre or Women’s Aid.”

Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans said: “I have been working closely with the PCC’s office for a number of months and I am delighted to see that the new Victim Advice Line will be going live in a month’s time. West Mercia strives to put victims at the heart of what we do and the support that the Victim Advice Line will provide alongside us will be invaluable.

“The majority of staff that will be working within the Victim Advice Line already have a great deal of experience in supporting victims of crime and their enthusiasm and determination to provide the best service possible is very clear to see.”

Issued on: Friday 1st March