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Victim Care

Question

1. Where does responsibility for victims care sit within your force area?  

2. Who is the portfolio lead for victims of crime services for your force area?

3. What organisations contribute to your multi - partnership approach to victims of crime care?  

4. Is there a dedicated victims of crime care centre in your force area? If yes, please provide details of the dedicated unit and the services provided ?  

5. Is your victim of crime services compliant with European Parliament (2012) Directive 2012/29/EH and the Victims Charter ?

Answer

1. Victim care is the responsibility of all customer facing staff within Avon and Somerset Constabulary from the staff within our call centre, our enquiry office staff, police officers, PCSOs and our dedicated victim and witness care unit. All staff are responsible for ensuring that victims are dealt with, with respect and dignity and feel listened to and believed. There is an expectation that all customer facing staff and officers are able to provide victims with information relating to available support services within their area including directing victims to Victim Support and our dedicated support service directory www.lighthousevictimcare.org 

2. Natalie Steadman is the Senior Responsible Officer and Head of Victim Care for the force. However, each strand of victim vulnerability (e.g. Domestic Abuse) has a lead officer at Superintendent level. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner also commission victim care services including Lighthouse Victim and Witness Care. 

Avon and Somerset Constabulary work closely with a number of agencies in or to provide effective and specialist victim care services, these include Domestic Abuse providers, ISVA service, Victim Support, Adult and Young People Advocacy Service, and Hate Crime services. Social care teams across the force are also close partners. Lighthouse Victim and Witness care have specialist services co-located within their victim care hubs including ISVAs (independent sexual violence advisors), IDVA’s (independent domestic violence advisors), Victim Support, Housing and Restorative Justice Coordinators. The ‘one stop victim care’ ethos is something which will expand as Lighthouse develops. 

4. Lighthouse Victim and Witness Care Service was established in October 2014 and provides support service coordination and victim care to all victims entitled to an enhanced service in accordance with the Victims Code of Practice with 24 – 48 hours of a crime being reported. Post charge, Lighthouse provide support to all victims and witness proceeding through the criminal justice system irrespective of enhanced status. This includes arranging special measures to enable witnesses to give high quality evidence in court, obtaining inconvenient dates, warning for court, making referrals to witness service for support on the day, explaining the criminal justice process and the various court hearings and updating victims and witnesses with hearing outcomes.  

5. Yes – review of all Directives and victim care obligations take place as and when changes/amendments are made to ensure compliance.


FOI Reference:1735/15