Supporting victims of crime is at the heart of everything we do and cutting crime, means fewer victims. In my role as Police and Crime Commissioner I hold responsibility for the commissioning of services for victims of crime.
Lancashire Victim Services (LVS)
In December 2021 I awarded a £13m contract to Victim Support to continue to deliver this under the Lancashire Victim Services brand from 2022 to 2027.
Lancashire Victim Services (LVS) offer support following any type of crime, but the overall contract value includes an additional £2.5m investment from my budget to ensure that specialist, face to face services are available for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence as well as young victims of crime under the age of 18.
Over the past year, Lancashire Victim Services, commissioned by my Office, received over 43,000 referrals, with thousands of cases related to the most serious crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual violence.
My Deputy PCC Andy Pratt MBE reviews the service’s performance on a quarterly basis to ensure that victims of crime can access high quality, expert support in a way that works best for them.
We know the impact crime can have on people’s lives and I am confident that the experts within the LVS team have the knowledge and skills to make a real difference and to help anyone affected by crime to move forward and recover from what has happened to them.
Claire Powell, Area Manager for Lancashire Victim Services added: “We really appreciate the positive feedback and support we get from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
“The funding we receive allows us to help a great number of people across the county, with many of them having been through really traumatic experiences.
“Being able to provide the support they need and seeing the positive impact it has on people’s lives is a real privilege and it is what drives our team to provide the best support we possibly can to anyone who needs us.”
This year LVS have delivered six courses of iMatter, a 10-week group programme for victims of domestic abuse, from offices in Accrington, Blackpool and Preston to 34 victims of domestic abuse.
The programme is designed for working with general challenges and conflicts that may lead to patterns of behaviour that are negative and ultimately abusive. It is aimed at those wishing to gain a better understanding of healthy relationships following the experience or experiences of an unhealthy/abusive relationship/s, and those who have recently realised that they are experiencing abuse where the risk is assessed to be at a standard or medium level.
Nest – Children and Young People’s Service
Nest Lancashire has been set up to support young people aged 8 to 18 who have been affected by crime or subjected to bullying, threats or harassment.
- 4,314 referrals received
- 3,496 new clients
- 3,118 needs assessments completed
- 1,417 children and young people supported
Schools Domestic Abuse Intervention Programme
The Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit Programme continues to be utilised to deliver topics covering: What domestic abuse is; rights and responsibilities in relationships; what happens and who can help when rights are denied; how to keep safe from an abusive person; how an abusive person might damage self-esteem; how to improve self-esteem following Domestic Abuse; what positive relationships should look like and how to handle difficult feelings and manage challenging emotions.
In the last 12 months, a team of five qualified Recovery Toolkit Practitioners have been delivering the programme, which has successfully been delivered to 60 Lancashire schools with 469 pupils attending 101 groups.
“To see the young people when you initially meet them to when they have attended sessions and watch them grow and become more confident to manage those difficult emotions and build up their self-esteem is really humbling. It is not their fault they have had to experience the trauma that they have been exposed to but they can now with the tools and information and encouragement grow and make the right choices and thrive. That is all you can ask for as Maslow’s hierarchy is built on young people thriving. I think we can make a difference for these young people in a very humbling way.”
Wendy, Young Person’s Domestic Abuse Practitioner
Referrals for support
Victims receiving support
Young victims of crime supported
Sam* had been living independently for a number of years. In the last year, however, a known drug abuser and supplier had taken over her property under the pretence of looking after her by providing various substances.
Also known as cuckooing, the perpetrator had taken over the home of this vulnerable person and used the property to store, deal and take drugs from, eventually isolating her and taking all of her money.
One day she returned home to find that the perpetrator had locked her out of her home but after reporting to the police she feared she would be tortured or killed. At this point she fled to another area and the case came to LVS.
The priority for LVS was to establish a secure home regardless of the fact that she didn’t have any local connections or ties to the new area and to ensure she had a strong support network in place to assist her substance misuse recovery. Sam was able to stop taking drugs without outside intervention as she felt stronger and more able to cope now that she was away from the perpetrator. LVS’s case worker advocated with the local council and housing associations to facilitate a move.
She is ticking off each passing week as a week in active recovery. She has access to her own finances and is in regular contact with her case worker who is providing ongoing emotional support, signposting and information.
LVS have also made referrals for therapy, provided information on local support groups and made referrals for food parcels when needed. The client’s next goal is to return to education and employment and will be supported through court where appropriate.
“You have made my life so much better and something great has come out of the bad situation that happened and I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have your help so thank you so very much”
*Anon service user.
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The Office of the PCC for Lancashire
County Hall Preston