In March 2016, Merseyside’s Police Commissioner renewed her commitment to supporting victims by announcing the second year of her Victim Care Merseyside service.
Jane Kennedy launched the multi-agency service in April 2015 and, following confirmation of Ministry of Justice funding, she was able to confirm she will continue to run the service for the second year throughout 2016 and into 2017.
Victim Care Merseyside comprises a dedicated victims’ referral system delivered by Merseyside Police which ensures people affected by crime are directed straight to the best placed teams to support them, as well as increasing the number of face-to-face visits offered to victims; a dedicated website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org offering advice and support to anyone who needs it and six specialist support services providing intensive care to some of the most vulnerable victims delivered by a host of regional partners.
Each of these support services were newly-created in 2015 but were once again opened up to tender for 2016/17 to ensure the best possible providers deliver the service.
As part of Victim Care Merseyside, the PCC also provided £180,000 to be shared among Merseyside’s five local authorities to enhance the support that is available to survivors of domestic violence through the provision of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I’m delighted that I am once again in a position to run my Victim Care Merseyside service, ensuring all victims get the support they need and those who are especially vulnerable get dedicated specialist help.
“Through this service we have helped hundreds of victims over the last year to get the care they need to cope, recover and rebuild their lives.
“Victim Care Merseyside was created to fill some of the gaps in care that existed here on Merseyside, including intensive support for young victims of domestic abuse and young people affected by child sexual exploitation. It also works to ensure that there is no longer a postcode lottery of care in our region; that everyone no matter where they live in Merseyside has access to the same level of support. This was particularly vital when it came to victims of rape and sexual offences.
“I want to ensure we are always providing the best possible service to victims, so once again I have invited bids for each of these victim support services to make sure we have the most effective and capable providers delivering these important services.
“I look forward to working with each of the successful providers over the next year to make sure victims here on Merseyside get all the help and support they need.”
Victim Care Merseyside was developed after a detailed six-month research and consultation programme carried out in 2014, which reviewed the way victims were referred to care and evaluated the existing support to identify weaknesses or gaps in the service.
This process highlighted the way the existing victim care system could be streamlined to prevent victims being contacted by lots of different agencies and fill the gaps where vulnerable people were being left without support.
As a result, the Commissioner took the decision to create the new referral system in partnership with Merseyside Police and six entirely new support services for 2015/16. These are a service dedicated to supporting vulnerable victims, a Child Sexual Exploitation support and therapy service, a domestic abuse support service for young victims, enhanced support for victims of sexual offences, a hate crime Advocacy Service and a complementary service supporting repeat and high-risk victims of ASB and hate crime.
Jane said: “There are lots of fantastic organisations on Merseyside offering really vital support to people affected by crime. However, our research in 2014 revealed that sadly some vulnerable victims were slipping through the gaps and not getting all the care they needed to cope with the effects of crime.
“Through Victim Care Merseyside we have concentrated over the last year on filling those gaps and enhancing the quality, availability and accessibility of support services across Merseyside. By working in partnership with Merseyside Police and some of the best charities and victim support organisations in the region, we have done just that. I am so pleased that I will once again be able to run all these services throughout 2016 and into 2017 to make sure victims are receiving the care and support they need to become survivors and move forward with their lives.”
The final piece of the Victim Care Merseyside jigsaw is a dedicated victims’ website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org which provides a one-stop shop of information and advice. The website enables users to search for organisations by crime type or geographical area or both, so they can directly access the best organisations to help them, whether they report it to the police or not.
Anyone affected by crime should visit www.VictimCareMerseyside.org for help or advice.
Progress Reports 2016/17
The victim support services commissioned as part of the Victim Care Merseyside package of care are subject to rigorous management reporting requirements led by the Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Sue Murphy. This allows her to work with Merseyside Police and the service providers to further develop and enhance the care that is provided for some of the most vulnerable people in the region.
You can also follow their progress by reviewing the perfomance reports which are produced every quarter. Please find these below:
Victim Care Merseyside performance report April - June 2016
Victim Care Merseyside performance report July - September 2016