Victim's Services Re-design


The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has been responsible for commissioning victims services since October 2014. In Thames Valley the annual victim’s grant from the Ministry of Justice has been used to provide:

      i.        A  referral mechanism with onward local support

     ii.        A young victims service

    iii.        Third- party reporting for hate crime 

   iv.        An Independent Sexual Violence Advisory (ISVA) service

    v.        A victim – led Restorative Justice service

   vi.        Specialist Counselling

  vii.        Domestic Violence Complex Needs Pilots

 viii.        Independent Trauma Advisory service pilots for victims of exploitation and modern slavery *funded separately by Home Office grants


Re-design Project

The Office of the PCC is currently going through a ‘Victim’s Services Re-design Project’ to: 

  • Bring to an end the existing ‘opt-out’ police referral mechanism and move to an opt-in (consent-based) model
  • Replace the Victim Assessment and Referral Centre with a Thames Valley based ‘Hub’ (‘Victim’s First’ hub) 

This will require the start of a commissioning process for some or all Victim’s First Hub functions by August 2017, ready for March 2018. A separate timetable will be laid out  for other (specialist) victims’ services.

The principles of this approach were outlined in the first of a short series of engagement events including Voluntary & Community Sector organisations (VCSOs), held on 7 February 2017. Further work is also being carried out, in particular learning directly from victims: those who use current services funded by the PCC, those who use other services and victims not directly engaged in victims’ services.

Emerging findings from the victims’ needs assessment will be included in the second engagement event scheduled for 25 April, 9.30am-12.00/30pm (High Wycombe).


Market Engagement Events

If you are a voluntary or community sector organisation working with victims of crime and would like to attend the events please email to be added to the invite list



1. In a move from opt-out to opt-in referral to victims’ services, how do we ensure victims are not missed?

  •  Most victim referrals at present come via the Police. There are a number of projects in place that are exploring how we might raise awareness for referrals from communities and victims not included in the criminal justice system
  • There needs to be clear messages and raised awareness of the victims’ service for victims and community-based organisations, if victims are to self-refer and access the support they need.

2. How do we ensure we reach the ‘hard to engage’?

The Victims First Hub will give greater access and greater community awareness for non-CJS (criminal justice system) routes to encourage referral to Victims First.

3. Will there be exemptions to opt-in, in particular for vulnerable people and victims with complex needs?

Further work is being carried out on the best methods of contact for victims, and to ensure appropriate questions are asked right at the start of the process. This will include insight from the recent pilot projects on Domestic Violence and learning from other work.

4. What does a referral hub look like?

  • The Victims’ First Hub will provide a single point of contact for all PCC funded victims’ services, and co-location with: Thames Valley Police Witness Care Service; the PCC’s counselling hub administration; and other administrative functions.
  • Consideration is being given to the Hub’s design to include: helpline/telephone support; a single point of referral and triage (reported and unreported cases); central co-ordination of service delivery for ‘less complex’ cases; and other co-ordination and governance functions.

5. What is the relationship of the Hub to the Specialist Counselling Service?

The Victims First Hub has been developed to support service users as an initial contact or referral. The Specialist Counselling Service will continue and be managed by the Victims First Hub.

6. How will you ensure consistency of provision across Thames Valley and opportunities for co-funding or co-commissioning services with other funders? – for example, Domestic Abuse services are each funded differently and with varied funding sources in the local authority areas which make-up Thames Valley region.

Further work is being carried out in particular to encourage collaboration between commissioners and between providers to best meet victims’ needs.

7. Where do services sit in the victim’s journey?

Further work is being carried out to ensure wider support is accessed in a local context and in respect of specialist victims’ services. In particular to encourage collaboration between commissioners and between providers.

8. Where there is an overlap of services, how will you deal with the grey areas?

The ideal approach is through collaboration and partnership models. It is important to remember that PCC-funded services are just part of the wider services provision that can support victims.

9. Will there be any grant funding, or only commissioning of services?

The preference is to commission with the funding for victims services; there are other grant funding opportunities (including from the PCC) but this tends to be shorter term and part of a competitive process.

10. What would the assessment process look like if the police are first point of contact for a victim?

There is already in place police training on safeguarding and vulnerability and new elements introduced for softer skills on wellbeing which can be adapted to support training for victims and referrals. This will be aided by the use of technology for reporting to the Victims First Hub.


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