Deputy PCC pledges £3m of support for vulnerable victims through Victim Care Merseyside service

Merseyside / March 02

Merseyside's Deputy Police Commissioner has today announced her plans to deliver nearly £3m of support for victims of crime through the Victim Care Merseyside service over the next three years.

Cllr Emily Spurrell has today confirmed eight key services have been commissioned to support vulnerable victims, witnesses and families affected by crime, and the organisations which will be delivering those services, from April 2018 until April 2021.

Victim Care Merseyside was officially launched by the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, in 2015 after powers and funding was given to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to commission victim support services. Last year, the Commissioner announced her intention to conduct a comprehensive research programme, reviewing the existing service and assessing how the needs of victims across the region may have changed and developed since the service was first established.

In light of that review, the Commissioner announced her plans to further improve and expand upon the existing package of care by enhancing the existing services and commissioning a number of new services to plug any gaps created by new and emerging crime types.

Following a competitive tendering process, the Deputy Commissioner has today confirmed the third sector and voluntary organisations which will be delivering all eight Victim Care Merseyside services, which include supporting child victims of sexual and criminal exploitation, victims of rape and sexual assault, domestic abuse and hate crime.

Emily said: “I’m delighted to confirm that, over the next three years, we are committing £3m through the Victim Care Merseyside service to provide support and care for some of the most vulnerable victims of crime in Merseyside.

“Nobody chooses to be a victim of crime, and when someone does suffer at the hands of others it is only right that they get the support to help them cope and recover.

“The aim of Victim Care Merseyside is to ensure victims get that support and that’s why the Commissioner and I are determined to constantly review and evaluate the services that are on offer. I’m so pleased to be in a position today to confirm the services that we have commissioned to support victims over the next three years and announce the fantastic local organisations which will be delivering that care.

The services which will be provided through Victim Care Merseyside are:

  • Vulnerable Victims’ Champion service for vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour (£185,648 per year) – Victim Support;
  • Domestic abuse support service, including support for young people and families - £270,000 per year distributed to the region’s five Local Authorities to enhance their existing services;
  • Specialist support service for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation (£182,000 per year) – Catch 22;
  • Dedicated aftercare support service for survivors of rape and sexual assault (£172,500 per year) – jointly awarded to RASA and RASASC;
  • Hate crime support service – jointly awarded to Anthony Walker Foundation (£40,000 per year), the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (£20,000 per year), and Daisy Inclusive UK (£10,000);
  • Third part hate crime reporting service (£25,000 per year) – Stop Hate UK;
  • Delivery of a Homicide Victims’ Advice Centre to provide support for victims of homicide, including homicide-related road traffic collisions (£23,456 per year) – Families Fighting for Justice;
  • New service to support victims of harmful practices (£22,000 per year) – Savera UK;
  • Child Exploitation / missing from home coordinator based within Merseyside Police (£40,000 per year).

Emily added: “We were one of the first areas in the country to offer support for victims of child criminal exploitation. Today’s announcement builds on that forward-thinking approach by delivering new services offering enhanced care for those who have been subjected to harmful practices, including forced marriage, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence and female genital mutilation; families who have had family members murdered or killed; and people who have been targeted by different types of hate.

“There will also be more money provided to enhance and expand our existing services, including our provision for victims of domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault and nearly double the amount of funding available for those affected by hate crime than in previous years. Following feedback from our partners, we have also taken the decision to make all of the contracts for these services three years long to give more long term security for the organisations who are commissioned and stability for victims.

“The nature of crime is constantly evolving and that means we have to adapt and update our services to ensure they are meeting the needs of victims today. Victims are at the heart of everything we do and through these new, and enhanced services offered through Victim Care Merseyside we are building on the great care which is already on offer to give the most vulnerable victims the extra help they need to become survivors.”

All of the decisions taken to enhance the Victim Care Merseyside service were based on detailed evidence, compiled as part of a Victim Needs Assessment (VNA). The VNA was carried out between May and October and incorporated extensive reviews of the crime data, a ‘what works’ literature review, a victim service mapping exercise and feedback sessions with service providers.

Crucially it also involved extensive consultation with victims of crime, including an online survey, focus groups and one-to-one interviews. A special workshop was also held with nearly 40 support organisations with the aim of identifying ‘hidden’ crimes that may still be going on undetected and out of sight.

All of the services were then put out to tender with organisations invited to apply. Assessment panels were held during February at which all the bids were scored based upon quality, cost and the provision of references.

If you have been affected by crime and need information, help or support, please visit Victim Care Merseyside.