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Vision for the future of victims’ services unveiled

31 January, 2014

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has set out his vision for an ambitious programme to “transform” services for victims and witnesses in Lancashire.

Over the last few months the views of hundreds of victims have been gathered as part of an extensive review of what services Lancashire currently offers them – and what services they feel they want to receive.

And yesterday Clive Grunshaw welcomed Baroness Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, to Lancashire for The Victims’ View consultation event, as he officially unveiled his new Victims’ Strategy and outlined his draft intentions for commissioning victims’ services when responsibility is passed to Police and Crime Commissioners in the Autumn.

The Commissioner said: “Being a victim of crime is not a pleasant experience – but I want to ensure when Lancashire’s victims turn for help, they feel like their needs are at the heart of the service.

“I want to ensure the victims’ voice is heard – and that is why such extensive research has been done to give those residents with experience of using victims’ services the chance to share their stories.

“Sadly, it has become apparent that all too often, the support available to victims isn’t good enough, and many feel they have not been treated with sensitivity and respect or are disillusioned with the quality of service they have received. Many felt they had been let down by the very system which was designed to protect and care for them – and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future.

“That’s not to say there weren’t positive stories. We heard from victims who spoke very highly of the police and in particular the support and help they were offered by Family Liaison Officers, as well as praise for Victim Support and the Witness Care Unit.

“But I want people’s experiences to be consistent – and I want everyone to feel they have received the service they expect and have been treated with dignity and respect.”

Everyone who was involved in the research, including service providers, voluntary agencies, criminal justice partners and victims themselves, was invited to yesterday’s Victims’ View conference to discuss the findings and draft commissioning intentions.

The event was also attended by a group of young people from Blackburn Youth Zone, who shared their experiences of being a victim with the Commissioner – and offered to help develop victims’ services from a youth perspective in the future.

The Commissioner will use the requirements outlined in his commissioning intentions when it comes to commissioning the services which will operate
across Lancashire, as a way of ensuring the best possible services for victims.

And delegates were told the Commissioner wants to ensure residents in Lancashire have easy access to services, can access services adapted for their specific needs, understand the criminal justice process, the commissioned services build on the good work already in existence and that a victim-orientated restorative justice programme is developed.

Mr Grunshaw also spoke about the need for victims to be able to get easier access to updates about their case and for partners to be able to share information to prevent duplication and overlap.

He added: “By working together, I and partners across the county have a chance to make a real difference to the experience of the victim in Lancashire.

“I have pledged to Listen to victims, Learn from their stories and Act on what they have told me they want – and that is a commitment that will remain throughout the commissioning process.

“I want to ensure going forward we have the right services in place to help the residents of Lancashire.

“I would like to thank all the victims who have taken part in the consultation so far – their input has been invaluable in shaping the future. And I must extend particular thanks to the youngsters from Blackburn Youth Zone for an inspirational speech at yesterday’s event which really highlighted the passion there is to get this right in Lancashire. “

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