Support services for victims of crime have evolved considerably over the last few years. Provision is now embedded in regions across the country, with Police and Crime Commissioners working hard to ensure support meets local needs. Great work has been done up until now, but there’s more we can do to reach more victims and give them the support they need.
Catch22 has a large footprint of victim services across the country. Our new report sets out what we’ve learned, and our six recommendations for anyone developing a service to support victims. They are:
- Consider new methods – Championing innovation and ideas means that services are able to respond to emerging needs in the communities we serve.
- Engage marginalised communities – Practitioners must work with specialist community services to create accessible pathways
- Stay informed on emerging areas of crime – To support victims well, we need to know what types of crime are happening, both in our local areas and nationally. Front-line services are well placed to spot trends as they appear.
- Consider young people as victims first – If we do not do this, children are needlessly and unfairly criminalised. This has a range of implications for the child later in life.
- Promote to existing and established support networks – Our victim services offer training to staff across the sector in their local areas, raising awareness of their work and the issues they support people with.
- Put victims at the centre of service design – Involve victims in design of the services and establish advisory groups to consult for ongoing improvement of services.
We know from our delivery experience that people who access these services benefit hugely from the recovery support offered but too many victims are still turning down offers of support services. Recent Catch22 research found that many victims still don’t know what support was available to them, or who was responsible for providing the support.
Working across specialties, services and sectors can help us find innovative solutions and ultimately lead to better outcomes for people affected by crime. Understanding both the crime landscape and what communities need from services is vital- and the true picture only becomes clear when organisations and agencies communicate effectively.