New service launches to support victims of crime in the Thames Valley

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has today (26/06) launched “Victims First” as a new service for victims of crime in the Thames Valley

Victims First is available across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and provides free emotional and therapeutic support to all victims and witnesses of crime, as well as family members of victims if they require it.

The service allows for one front door for all victims in the Thames Valley who require support and is available regardless of:

·         Crime type

·         If the crime has been reported to the police

·         Whether they were a victim of a recent or historic crime

·         Wherever the crime happened.

The aim of the service is to help people cope and recover from the impact of the crime by ensuring that they have access to a range of services depending on their needs, including:

·         Telephone support

·         Face to face support

·         Advocacy, including, help to access other services such as sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol services and legal services

·         Support through the criminal justice system

·         Therapeutic counselling

Victims First can provide support to any victim of crime including domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, harassment, cyber-crime, fraud, theft, burglary and exploitation.

When a victim contacts Victims First they are allocated a Victims First Officer who will discuss, over the phone, the impact of the crime on them and their emotional or practical needs. They will then work with the victim to put in place a support plan which could involve referral to one of Victims First specialist services for face to face support.

Our specialist services include help for both male and females who have been victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse, a Young Victims Service, a Restorative Justice Service and therapeutic counselling. A new service supporting victims of exploitation will also begin in July 2018.

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The launch of Victims First as a service across the Thames Valley is a key milestone in the work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to support victims and improve services.

“A barrier to accessing help is often not knowing which service to contact and whether you meet the criteria for support. However, Victims First provides for one front door to all services and is open to anyone who has been impacted by crime and is struggling to cope as a consequence. This includes those who haven’t reported the crime to the police, historic victims of crime and those who currently have limited options for support, including male victims of domestic and sexual abuse, victims of stalking, cyber-crime and fraud.

“The impact of crime on victims can last a lifetime if the right support isn’t provided and I believe the creation of Victims First will assist many people in getting the support they need to help them move forward with their life.”

Victim of theft who has been supported through Victims First said: “I felt mentally and physically affected by what happened, but thanks to the support I received I’m better able to cope now. My caseworker seemed to understand how I was affected by the experience, and their support made a difference”

 

Anybody who needs support can access it through:

Tel: 0300 1234 148

Website: www.victims-first.org.uk 

 

We also have lots of information of crime, crime prevention and support on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victimsfirstTV/ 

 

ENDS

 

Editors Notes

Matthew Barber, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner is available for interview on the 26 and 27 June. Shona Morrison who has led on the development of Victims First and has experience of taking calls from victims is also available for interview.

Please email interview requests to opcc.comms@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk 

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