NEW specialists are making sure vulnerable victims of crime in Tamworth get the best possible support as part of a radical rethink of services by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis.
Mr Ellis set out a vision 12 months ago to put the needs of victims and witnesses at the heart of the criminal justice system in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
This week sees the launch of the network of new specialists who offer support to victims who are vulnerable, due to issues such as mental illness, domestic violence or hearing impairment.
The network has been established as part of a much wider programme to transform victims’ services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The specialists sit in 12 organisations that already have expertise in supporting vulnerable people.
A video highlighting the specialist scheme, which includes interviews with a victim and two of the organisations involved – Staffordshire Women’s Aid and East Staffordshire Racial Equalities Council – can now be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLdj7wZnMt4
The Commissioner said: “For too long people have had to fit the criminal justice system rather than the system fitting them.
“In Staffordshire, we want to reverse this and create a joined-up system that treats victims with dignity and respect.
“It’s about making it easier for victims to receive the support they need and putting them at the heart of all we do.”
Mr Ellis has asked his deputy, Sue Arnold, to oversee a review and reform of services on his behalf so that victims and witnesses are supported in ways that recognise their individual circumstances and needs better.
Mrs Arnold said: “These new specialists will make a significant difference for people who are vulnerable by helping them find support that is sensitive and tailored to their individual needs.
“The specialists will be an integral part of a new single victims’ gateway where one agency will take on the responsibility for providing a clearly mapped out support route for victims of crime.”
They will be accredited to the victims’ gateway, which will be established by April 2015, and provide or organise tailored support to help the victim recover from their ordeal.
The new service has been recognised by the Government who have provided a £220,000 grant to support it.