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Victim services

Hertfordshire Beacon Victim Care delivers second annual victims’ awareness conference

A large number of attendees listen to a speaker at the second annual Beacon Victim Care victims' conference.

This week, Catch22’s Beacon Victim Care delivered its second annual Victims’ Awareness Conference. This year’s theme, “Meeting the needs of victims today and tomorrow” resonated throughout the day’s presentations, panel discussions, and lived experience speakers.

The conference brought together key agencies from across Hertfordshire including the Police, council, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and various victim support organisations: all of whom work together to guide and support victims of crime through the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Attendees comprised professionals, victim advocates, and survivors, to discuss the pressing issues facing victims and some of the potential solutions.

The conference hosted a range of speakers who touched on the varying and often complex needs of victims as they navigate through the criminal justice system. There was a talk from a lived experience speaker about her journey as a victim of romance fraud and the numerous touch points she had with the system. We heard from Trauma Recovery CIC on the importance of taking a trauma-informed approach when supporting victims, wherever they are in their journey. And, there was also a talk on where a victim’s experience, particularly those who have suffered domestic abuse, might be enhanced by a digital enabler that works to limit attrition or disengagement from the criminal justice process.

The conference also delved into the recently passed ‘Victims and Prisoners Law’, with both a talk and panel session considering what its provisions will mean for the various agencies to which it applies, and how different agencies can collaborate more closely to ensure that victims’ rights are met.

In the afternoon, Beacon hosted an awards ceremony which recognised individuals and organisations for their outstanding contributions to victim support. Awards included:

  • Outstanding New Initiative,
  • Outstanding Victims Advocate in the Third Sector,
  • Outstanding Victims Advocate in Statutory Services, and lastly
  • Outstanding Partnership.

Finally, attendees were invited to make a pledge: “Together, we pledge to advocate for victims’ rights”, which encouraged closer working between organisations to better champion victims’ needs.

The event provided valuable insights, gave space for important discussions, and celebrated the extraordinary contributions of those dedicated to supporting victims. While significant progress has been made, the journey to fully meeting the needs of victims is ongoing. We therefore look forward to seeing the continued collaboration that will undoubtedly stem from the connections and knowledge shared at this year’s conference.