Merseyside’s Police Commissioner launched the third year of her Victim Care Merseyside service by hosting a networking event aimed at improving the care for vulnerable people.
Jane Kennedy invited all the organisations which deliver support services through her Victim Care Merseyside service to share their work with representatives from the region’s Community Safety Partnerships with the aim of building relationships and increasing communication between the agencies.
The event, held at the Commissioner’s offices at Allerton Police Station, also saw the organisations which deliver support services as part of Victim Care Merseyside ‘speed network’ with representatives from each of the region’s local authorities to help all the agencies to establish and improve their relationships and share key information about their work, with the aim of encouraging greater collaboration in the future. Find out more about this event here.
The Commissioner launched Victim Care Merseyside in June 2015 after the Ministry of Justice transferred the responsibility for commissioning support services for victims of crime to Police and Crime Commissioners. Find out more here.
Victim support services 17/18
For the third 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 out to competitive tender to ensure the best possible providers were found to deliver these contracts.
Following the success of the Child Criminal Exploitation pilot projects in 2016/17, for the first time, the Commissioner decided to commission a joint Child Sexual and Child Criminal Exploitation service.
The successful organisations for the dedicated support services were as follows:
- Vulnerable Victims service - provided by Victim Support
- Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation service - provided by Catch 22
- Sexual offences support services - jointly provided by RASA and RASASC
- Domestic abuse service for young people - provided by Listening Ear
- Hate crime advocacy services - provided by the Anthony Walker Foundation
- Complementary service for high risk victims of hate and anti-social behaviour - provided by Light for Life
Additional support services
Once again, the PCC took the decision to complement her key support services by providing funding for some additional support services in critical areas. In 2017/18, 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 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.
Please find a summary of all the Victim Care Merseyside services here.
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.
Following, the progress report from 2016/17, the Commissioner took the decision to continue to provide funding to Liverpool charity Families Fighting for Justice to run 'The Hub' in 2017/18.
The centre provides support for the families of those who have lost loved ones through homicide. The first of its kind in the country, 'The Hub' acts 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 provides increased support for children or young people who have lost someone and may be forgotten at a time when adults are struggling to cope.
Find out more here.
Hidden Crimes event
Following the launch of the third year of the Victim Care Merseyside service, the Commissioner hosted a special 'hidden crimes' workshop with the aim of improving understanding of less recognised crimes. More than 40 organisations which provide victim support services across Merseyside were invited to join the PCC round the table to talk about the crimes that may still be going on undetected and out of sight.
The event, at the Quaker Meeting House in Liverpool, was held to help all the partners build a greater collective understanding of those crimes which often remain hidden from view and increase knowledge and awareness of victims’ experiences in order to provide better support and protection for the most vulnerable. Find out more about this event here.
The information generated from the event will help inform and influence a new victim needs assessment which will be used to identify existing gaps in the provision of victim support services and highlight what services the Commissioner may choose to commission between 2018 and 2021.
A similar assessment was previously carried out in 2014 before Victim Care Merseyside was created. Find out more here.
Monitoring and scrutiny
Quarterly Victims' Programme Board meetings are held with Merseyside Police to assess the progress and delivery of the victim referral system.
The victim support services commissioned as part of the Victim Care Merseyside package of care are also 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 follow their progress by reviewing the performance reports which are produced every quarter. (Please note, these are produced quarterly and will be published once completed.)