New victim support centre funded by criminals launches this week
Victims of crime can now receive enhanced care as a countywide support centre – funded by criminals themselves – is launched.
The brand new Beacon victim care centre goes live on Wednesday, featuring an innovative new arrangement between Victim Support and Herts Police’s Victim Service Team.
Operating out of a single hub, the new service will provide a complete ‘wrap-around’ provision for victims, with vulnerable or repeat victims being identified early on for an enhanced care package.
Funding for the service will come directly from crooks themselves, as the money has been raised nationally through victim surcharges imposed by courts on conviction.
The free service will be available to all victims of crime, including those who have decided not to report the matter to police, who wish to remain anonymous or who have changed their mind about needing support and choose to make contact in the weeks or months after the incident.
Fron April last year, responsibility for commissioning victims’ services in Hertfordshire transferred over to police and crime commissioners from central government, which had offered generic support across the country.
Herts commissioner David Lloyd said: “The launch of Beacon represents a step-change in the level of support victims of crime in Herts receive. It will give those who have been strongly affected by their experiences the best possible chance of coping and recovering from their ordeal.
“This is a made-to-measure service for the county, based on what victims have said they want. Victims have told me they want to be heard, they want a single point of contact, they want to be kept up to date on the investigation and they want to be able to access support at any time, not just in the days and weeks following the offence.
“Whether they want to speak to someone for emotional support or practical support, for instance in changing door locks, Beacon will provide a single place which will meet their needs. Hertfordshire is leading the way in supporting victims of crime, putting them back at the heart of the criminal justice system.”
Herts’ deputy chief constable Andy Adams, added: “Victim care starts at the moment a victim of crime tells someone about it. We hope that that ‘someone’ will be the police, so we can begin an investigation and bring the perpetrator to justice.
“However, we recognise that not everyone will be comfortable reporting a crime, and we are working hard as a service to address this issue. In the meantime, however, it is very reassuring that victims will get the help, advice and support they need, even if they do not report it to the police straight away.
“I am proud that Hertfordshire Constabulary is playing in integral role in the victim care service and I am confident that it will encourage the small number of victims who do not report their crimes to do so.”
The new Beacon website will go live from Wednesday, April 1 at www.hertfordshirebeacon.org, providing victims with information and advice to access support.
The hotline on 0300 011 55 55 will be open daily from 7am to 10pm for victims to contact the centre direct, though victims who report crimes to police will automatically be contacted by the centre.