Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson and Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Baroness Helen Newlove, were in Wakefield on Thursday 14th June to see the vital work being done to ensure victims and witnesses are supported across the county.
They attended the Victims’ Hub on Wood Street where they met Victim Support staff and volunteers before heading to the Town Hall to help launch new victims’ services.
Mr Burns-Williamson awarded £3.6million to Victim Support to continue to provide core support to victims and witnesses for the next three years.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I am very pleased Baroness Newlove was able to come and see the excellent work taking place in Wakefield and beyond to ensure new and improved services for victims now including help for those aged under 18. These are further important steps along the way to a new deal for all victims, making a reality of the Victims Code which has been in place for a while.
“Many people affected by crime often feel unable to get the help they need, whether or not they wish to report it to the police, so these new services and contracts will ensure that wider support and make more options are available.”
As well as the direct service for children and young people, the service is open to victims of all crime types, and also has a web chat facility as well as the hubs, including a new hub in Halifax, meaning that there will soon be one in every district of West Yorkshire.
Baroness Newlove said: “I am delighted to be at the launch of victims’ services in Wakefield. It is vital that victims have access to local support services to help them cope and recover from the trauma of crime. I feel sure that the new hub will be able to offer the practical and emotional support that victims need.
“I am particularly pleased to see that it offers support to child victims. My own research shows that child victims are often poorly served by our criminal justice system and this needs to be addressed. This is a much needed facility”
Victims’ Hubs, which are drop in and outreach facilities for anyone affected by crime, are already in Bradford, Shipley, Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield with one opening in Halifax in the coming months.
The PCC and the Baroness then attended Wakefield Town Hall for the official launch of the new Victim Support core referral and local support service, commissioned by the PCC, and attended by key community safety and criminal justice partners from across West Yorkshire. The event is hosted by Cllr Maureen Cummings, Chair of the Wakefield Community Safety Partnership.
The Victims Commissioner also met people within the services that Mr Burns-Williamson has worked with to provide support to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse including restorative justice services.
Ellen Miller, Victims Services Director for the North of England at independent charity Victim Support said: “We’re delighted to welcome Baroness Newlove to see first-hand how we’re supporting victims across West Yorkshire.
“Under our new contract we’re able to provide specialist practical and emotional help to all victims of crime, including children and young people with essential face to face support available through our five local hubs covering each district across the region.”
For more information on Victim Support call 0300 303 1971, or visit www.victimsupport.org.uk and then connect to West Yorkshire.