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As part of Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion’s commitment to ensuring victims of crime receive an improved and more consistent service, a new support function in the form of the Victim Advice Line is launching in West Mercia.

Wanting to know if victims of crime felt fully supported, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion carried out a consultation with a number of people who gave a clear mandate for wanting things to be done differently.

The victims stated they wanted a single point of entry into support, they wanted quick updates on their case, and they also wanted to have greater ownership of their journey and help shape it themselves – as opposed to being labelled by a type of crime and having a ‘one size fits all’ support package.

The outcomes from the consultation have shaped all that the Victim Advice Line (VAL) is aiming to deliver when it goes live on 1st April 2019. The VAL will be replacing the initial needs assessment function that has previously been provided by Victim Support and will remove many layers within the victim’s journey, meaning they will have a clearer pathway of support and they won’t need to repeat their story multiple times.

The Victim Advice Line will be made up of a team of expert and fully trained Victim Care Coordinators who will help the victim when they come through to the service, be it through police, third party or self-referral (the crime doesn’t have to have been reported to the police). The victim may then be referred onto other specialist services, dependent on the level of support they may need.

This type of model 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: “Whilst the contract we had with Victim Support was good, in order to provide victims with what they wanted 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. They won’t be given a pre-determined package, they’ll be given support that is completely tailored to them. 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.”

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 on 1st April. 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: Wednesday 30th January