A new approach to supporting victims was officially launched by Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove in September. The Staffordshire Victim Gateway is putting the needs of victims at the heart of the criminal justice system across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Supporting victims and witnesses is one of four key priorities in Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis’ Safer, Fairer United Communities strategy for more local and effective policing in the county.
A Citizens Advice Bureau consortium led by Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent CAB won a three-and-half-year contract to develop the Gateway which offers free advice and support to victims, witnesses and their families. Staffordshire is the first area in the country to pioneer the new CAB-led approach which is unique because it is based locally, offering a tailored service for victims.
Baroness Newlove, who has campaigned tirelessly for victims since the tragic death of her husband Garry in 2007, visited Staffordshire Police’s headquarters in Stafford to launch the Gateway in September.
“The Gateway service really demonstrates where organisations can work together to deliver a joined up, tailor-made support network for victims. No two victims are the same, so the support they receive needs to meet their individual needs.”
For the first time support is being offered to ALL victims – not just those who report crime to police – which means the Gateway will double the number of people offered help from 23,000 to approximately 50,000 a year. Victims will get timely advice and emotional and practical support in the way that suits them best, whether over the ‘phone or face to face.
A network of victim’s specialists launched last year to offer support to victims who are vulnerable, due to issues such as mental illness, domestic violence or hearing impairment. They will help manage a seamless transition between the Staffordshire Victims Gateway and specialist victim services.
CAB has centres covering all parts of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent which will provide support to victims as part of the contract.
Information about the Staffordshire Victim Gateway is available at www.staffsvictimsgateway.org.uk or by ringing 0330 0881 339.