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 2015 and, following confirmation of Ministry of Justice funding, she was able to confirm she would 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; six specialist support services providing intensive care to some of the most vulnerable victims delivered by a host of regional partners; and a dedicated website www.VictimCareMerseyside.org offering advice and support to anyone who needs it
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.
Victim support services 16/17
For the second year of the Victim Care Merseyside, the Commissioner retained the enhanced victims' referral service delivered by Merseyside Police (read more on the Victim Care Merseyside page) and, once again, she opened all the commissioned victim support services, first commissioned in 2015, out to competitive tender to ensure the best possible providers were found to deliver these contracts.
The successful organisations for the dedicated support services were as follows.
Please also find full performance reports for 2016/17 for each of these key services:
Additional support services
The PCC took the decision to complement her key support services by providing funding for some additional support services in critical areas. This included funding for:
- Enhanced local Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) provision, providing specialist advice and support for victims of domestic abuse, by each of the region's Local Authorities
- A specialist sex worker ISVA services provided by SAFE Place Merseyside and Armistead
- A 24 hour independent reporting and referral service for all victims of hate crime provided by Stop Hate UK. Find out more about this service here.
- A Child Sexual Exploitation and missing from home worker within Merseyside Police to improve the quality of debriefs relating to looked after children who are missing from home between the police and the Youth Offending Teams within each of the region's five local authorities.
Victim Care Merseyside website
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.
In July 2016, the Commissioner also granted funding to Liverpool charity Families Fighting for Justice to support 'The Hub' to provide greater support to the families of those who have lost loved ones through homicide. The first of its kind in the country, 'The Hub' acted as a gateway for any individual or family who has lost someone through murder and manslaughter, as well as road collisions where someone was to blame, to access information and support on a whole range of services including trauma counselling, guidance on the court process and judicial system, support with financial or domestic problems and drug and alcohol addiction.
It also provide increased support for children or young people who have lost someone and may be forgotten at a time when adults are struggling to cope. After launching in August 2016, a total of 624 people used the service, ranging from the child to the grandparents of victims of homicide during 2016/17. An average of 78 people accessed the service each month, with the figure increasing each month. The Hub also provided a dedicated children's service (O.L.L.Y) which provides a welcoming environment for children of have suffered loss to share their experiences.
Find out more here.
Child Criminal Exploitation pilot programmes
In August 2016, the PCC announced she was commissioning three pilot projects aimed at preventing some of the region's most vulnerable young people from being exploited by criminal gangs. The Commissioner made a total of £75,000 available from her MoJ funding for victim support services to find ways to tackle what is now recognised as 'Child Criminal Exploitation' or CCE. CCE sees children as young as 10 being lured into carrying out crime on behalf of often older, more intimidating and sophisticated criminals.
While there is still no legal definition of ‘Child Criminal Exploitation’ or CCE, it is increasingly being recognised as a major factor behind crime in communities across Merseyside and the UK, while also simultaneously victimising vulnerable young people and leaving them at risk of harm.
It is believed to be the first time in the UK that grants have been awarded to tackle the issue of CCE.
The successful schemes were:
- A personalised and intensive support 'Choices and Consequences' programme delivered by the Princes Trust for young people identified as being in or at risk of CCE.
- A CCE project run by Knowsley-based charity MALS (Mentor, Achieve, Learn and Support) Merseyside working with young between the ages of 11 and 19 to raise awareness of CCE and encouraging them to make better life choices.
- Group sessions being jointly funded by Knowsley and Sefton Councils to run group sessions to raise awareness of CCE. The project will also see 50 professionals across the two areas receive training sessions so they can continue to deliver awareness-raising sessions into the future.
The Commissioner also pledged nearly £11,000 to support the ‘On one condition’ production which will use drama and new media to bring the issues relating to CCE to life for young people. The funding will enable Creative Youth Support group, who deliver the interactive workshops, to run 20 sessions across Merseyside reaching up to 700 young people.
Find out more about these pilot programmes here.
A full summary for the CCE pilot programmes run during 2016/17 can be found below:
CCE commissioned projects - End of year summary 16/17.
The victim support services commissioned as part of the Victim Care Merseyside package of care are subject to rigorous management reporting requirements. This allows the Commissioner 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
Victim Care Merseyside performance report October - December 2016
Victim Care Merseyside performance report January - March 2017