Extra funding announced to support victims of crime in Aylesbury Vale and beyond

Funding for a victim support service has been announced by Thames Valley's police and crime commissioner (PCC), with extra cash thrown in too.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 11:38 am
Updated Friday, 25th October 2019, 12:38 pm
Police file photo

Anthony Stansfeld (PCC) announced today that the Specialist Service for Adult Victims while SAFE! has been awarded a further three year contract to provide services to young victims of crime across the Thames Valley beginning in April 2020.

The value of both contracts is just over £4.5 million over the three year period; an increase of half a million compared to the previous contracts.

The Adult Specialist Service will provide support to victims who have higher level, or longer term, needs. The support will be provided by specialist Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs), Restorative Justice Practitioners, Exploitation Specialists and staff with other relevant specialist skills and knowledge.

The commissioner's office says that support will be tailored to meet victims’ individual needs, regardless of the crime type they have experienced and could include trauma-informed interventions in individual or group settings, advocacy support including help to access mental health or drug and alcohol services, restorative justice conferencing, as well as practical and emotional support to navigate the criminal justice process.

Thames Valley Partnership says it will work closely with partner organisations Oxford Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) and Trusthouse Reading to deliver the service.

As the existing service provider of the PCC’s Young Victim’s Service, SAFE! will continue to provide practical and emotional support to young victims from 5 to 18 years of age; implementing its Protective Behaviours model to equip young people with the tools they need to keep themselves safe.

Thames Valley Partnership and SAFE! will also work closely together to provide a new model of family support.

Anthony Stansfeld, police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “I am committed to providing accessible, high quality services to victims of crime and I am pleased to be working with Thames Valley Partnership and SAFE! to deliver this support.

“We are providing additional funding for these contracts which will focus on the unique trauma experienced by victims and their individual needs rather than the type of crime they have faced. This will enable victims to receive an individual and tailored approach to their support to help them to cope and recover from the crime or abuse.

“The services will also address some gaps in provision that we’ve recognised, such as support for younger children who have been a victim or witness to a crime, adult victims of serious crimes such as violence or cyber-crime who have not previously had access to specialist support, and whole families who have been traumatised by the impact of a crime.

“We will be sad to cease working with Refuge who have delivered the ISVA services to Thames Valley for the past 5 years but intend to work closely with them during the transition period until the new provider takes over in April 2020. ”

Nikki Ross, chief executive of Thames Valley Partnership, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to be involved with the new Adult Specialist Service, working with the other partner agencies to offer a more encompassing and holistic approach to the needs of the victim. We already have a long-standing working relationship with the PCC for Thames Valley and the new service will now enable us to offer the best possible support to victims, to help them deal with, and recover from, the trauma of their experiences.”

Chloe Purcell, Director of SAFE! said “We are absolutely thrilled to have been re-commissioned to provide this vital service to children and young people across the region.

“Over the next three years we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Office of the PCC to develop our support for children and families around the Thames Valley who are struggling following victimisation by crime.”

The new contracts begin on April 1 next year.