Funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd, the app is designed to ensure victims receive all the help they need following a crime. It is the first step to giving victims a one-stop portal for all issues associated with their case. Additionally, the app is a unique access point to the Beacon Victim Care team – and another innovation from Catch22’s victim services. The app provides those affected by crime with:
- a secure and private account
- access to confidential in-app chat with a support worker
- detailed information on local support services
- a calendar for all case-related dates, such as court dates
- a journal for logging post-crime experiences,
- and assistance with putting together a Victim Personal Statement.
The Beacon team, based at Hertfordshire Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, provide a complete wrap-around service to help victims to cope and recover from the impact of crime. The service is available to all victims of crime in Hertfordshire regardless of whether the crime was reported.
The Herts Beacon Assist app and Beacon Victim Care aims to encourage victims to #KnowYourRights – these are the 12 rights of every victim under the Victims’ Code of Practice, encouraging Hertfordshire’s residents to seek the support they are entitled to.
Herts Beacon Assist is available free of charge to all Hertfordshire residents and is accessible on iOS, Android, and PCs.
Emma Jones, Assistant Director for Victim Services at Catch22 said:
“We need to see a more collaborative approach to the way we deal with victims. Too often courts, police, and supportive services are disjointed.
“Innovation is at the heart of the way our victim services are delivered. And after consulting with victims, we believe an easily accessible platform such as the Herts Beacon Assist app will inform and empower victims across the region to have more control while they recover from the impact of crime.”
Head of Commissioning and Victim Services for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, Keven McGetrick said:
“We have for some time recognised the barriers that can prevent victims from engaging with victim services, not least, accessibility at a time better suited for their needs; and using technology to help overcome barriers of stigmatisation, language, or embarrassment, but above all, a safe and secure alternative method of communication that helps reduce risk if that is of concern.
“We hope the portal will provide an additional service offering more in keeping with today’s lifestyles and how, as good customer provision, we can introduce choice, an important component in empowering victims.”