Victim Care Merseyside is a specialist package of support developed by Merseyside's Police Commissioner which puts victims at the centre of the region’s police service and criminal justice system.
The service, which has been running since 2015, is designed to give victims the best possible help to cope and recover from the after effects of crime and ensure victims get enhanced support from the first moment they report a crime to Merseyside Police right through to greater emotional support and increased counselling and therapeutic services.
Included within the Victim Care Merseyside package is a dedicated victims’ referral system delivered by Merseyside Police which will ensure people affected by crime are directed straight to the best placed teams to support them and increase the number of face-to-face visits, while also reducing duplication and costs.
It also includes a range of specialist support services providing additional care to some of the most vulnerable; and a dedicated victims’ website Victim Care Merseyside.
The Victim Care Merseyside service, which is now in its fifth year of running, is the result of comprehensive research programme. This 'Victim Needs Assessment' programme reviewed the existing services and assessed the needs of victims in order to inform the services which should be commissioned. At the centre of this process were the views of victims and survivors, with surveys and focus groups being held to gather their opinions. The views of service providers were also gathered through a series of workshops.
Victim Care Merseyside services 2019/20
Please find a full list of the specialist Victim Care Merseyside services and providers below:
- Dedicated aftercare support service for survivors of rape and sexual assault– jointly delivered by RASA Merseyside and Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC);
- Vulnerable Victims’ Champion service for vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour – provided by Victim Support;
- Specialist support service for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation – delivered by social enterprise Catch 22;
- Enhanced support for those affected by domestic abuse, including support for young people and families – this funding distributed to the region’s five Local Authorities to enhance their existing services;
- Tailored hate crime support service – jointly awarded to Anthony Walker Foundation, Citizens’ Advice Liverpool, and Daisy Inclusive UK to provide specialist support according to strand. It also includes a third party hate crime reporting service provided by Stop Hate UK;
- A new service to support victims of harmful practices (including FGM, forced marriage and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence) – Savera UK;
- ‘The Hub’ advice centre to provide support for families who have lost a loved one to homicide, including crime-related road traffic collisions – Families Fighting for Justice;
Victims' referral service
Through the Victim Care Merseyside referral system, as soon as a victim reports a crime, Merseyside Police’s trained call handers will carry out a rapid vulnerability assessment, to identify their needs.
They then use this information to direct the person straight to the dedicated teams who are best placed to help them. This ranges from the existing multi-agency safeguarding teams staffed by the police and a range of partner agencies for the most vulnerable victims, the Force’s specialist teams.
This replaces the previous referral process which saw a victim’s details being sent to an external agency.
By making these changes, the PCC has released funds to pay for five dedicated new risk assessors who focus on ensuring the most vulnerable people get the protection and care they need and additional PCSOs who strengthen the Neighbourhood teams and visit more victims.
These officers will then help victims get all the additional support they need, either by signposting them to external charities and organisations, arranging for on-going volunteer visits or providing crime prevention advice and tips.
Jane said: “By using the Force’s existing in-house support services, the Victim Care Merseyside referral process will provide a streamlined, joined-up and consistent service, operated by specially trained staff who are alert to issues of vulnerability and safeguarding.
“This will reduce costs and avoid duplication, giving victims a single point of contact and ensuring they are directed to the best placed agencies and teams to get the support they need and deserve.”
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.
Jane said: “Victim Care Merseyside is designed to enhance the quality, availability and accessibility of support services across Merseyside
“By taking this approach and investing in a whole range of new support services, we believe we can make a difference and really improve the lives of people affected by crime. Victims of crime must always be our priority and through Victim Care Merseyside I am making a public pledge to improve the care and support they receive.”
Take a look at this short video to find out more about the Victim Care Merseyside service: