Scott Allum, Anti-Social Behaviour Case Manager at Beacon Victim Care in Hertfordshire, discusses the importance of trusted relationships with service users and how Catch22’s Victim Services support victims of anti-social behaviour.
Tell us about how you work with victims of anti-social behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour victims are supported through emotional support, advocacy, signposting, information provision, onward/partner referrals, safety planning and practical support, as well as through restorative solutions where appropriate.
My role is focused on working solely with victims of anti-social behaviour, but I use a multi-agency approach for dealing with the variety of issues that occur alongside anti-social behaviour victimisation.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day starts with checking my emails for correspondence with any of our partner organisations dealing with victims of anti-social behaviour. I strive in my day-to-day work to champion a multi-agency approach that draws in the skills and resources from multiple professionals and agencies so that victims receive the right support and input. This could involve harm-specific referrals. I then check my calendar for scheduled calls to new and existing clients and work my way through those. We always try to take note of what time and days are best for individuals so that we can fit in around people’s busy lives.
A lot of my work is with clients over the phone, so I mostly spend my days working in the office. We do meet clients in the community too so if there is a need for face to face, occasionally my day involves travelling through Hertfordshire to meet with clients as well.
A big part of my day and role is to also then advocate with the other professionals involved in a case. I’ll give clients updates on any welfare issues I’ve been helping them out with, for example with their case with the police, or housing issues with the council. Most importantly, I’ll check with clients to see if they’ve got any updates and how they are feeling. It’s vital that the victim’s perspective is heard within the decision-making process and how a case is moved forward.
What is the process of working with a new client?
In the initial call, I introduce the service and what the support involves, then I go over confidentiality and the privacy notice, and then I would also make them aware of the victim’s code of practice and restorative justice. This is an important part of my role as it is crucial victims are aware of their entitlements, so they are empowered with knowledge to navigate the criminal justice system and their recovery from the impact of crime.
Also, within this initial call I go through a need’s assessment with them. The assessment takes a holistic view of how the crime has impacted that victim’s life and highlights for our service what areas we might need to provide support i.e. mental wellbeing, personal safety etc. This then helps us to create a support plan with the victim where it is clear what support we will provide but also outlines what actions the victim can take.
Why is your relationship important with clients?
An important part of my role is being a listening ear and allowing clients to speak to me about the impact the crimes are having on them and how dealing with the ongoing nature of anti-social behaviour is impacting their recovery from crime.
As well as the importance of having someone to advocate for their needs as a victim of anti-social behaviour, for some victims having someone to talk to like this is vital as the other professionals involved are often focusing on the practical actions to resolve any ongoing issues. Part of the Police’s job, for example, is to ensure the offender is dealt with and future harm is minimised.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I enjoy the sense of achievement I have when a victim reaches a conclusion to the issues they have had to deal with. It is also great to hear comments like these ones I recently received:
“Thank you for all of your help. We are very grateful and I think the turning point was when you had the professionals meeting – everything seemed to move a lot faster afterwards.”
“Thank you for your support – it was nice to receive consistent phone calls to see how I was and to give any updates when you could.”