DORSET PCC is the first in the UK to award a new local victim support contract.
Victim Support has been commissioned by the Dorset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to provide an enhanced service to the county’s victims for the next three years. The contract will start on October 1.
The independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime will continue to provide confidential support and free advice until 2017. It will include a 24hr helpline for victims of crime and additional support for victims of antisocial behaviour and business crime. The size of the Victim Support team in Dorset will also double, the PCC office said.
Victim Support is the independent charity for victims and witness of crime in England and Wales. Last year it offered help to more than one million victims of crime and supported more than 200,000 witnesses as they gave evidence at criminal trials. It also provides a Homicide Service supporting relatives bereaved by murder and manslaughter and runs more than 100 local projects. It is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said: "This new contract is really exciting and is a step change for services locally. The contract will bring new victim categories into the support network, such as victims of business crime and low level anti-social behaviour. This is really exciting and will help my team and Dorset Police comply with the new Victim Code. The contract also sees new software and increased staffing to deliver new and enhanced services with other partners, including the Dorset Victims Bureau.”
He added: “This contract brings Dorset solutions to our victims and is the first contract in the country to be awarded. I pledged to see fewer victims in Dorset and so far we have delivered that. I also pledged to increase support to our victims. This new contract goes a long way to achieving that.”
Rhiannon Evans, Victim Support Divisional Manager for Dorset, said they were delighted to have been asked to provide the new service for victims of crime in Dorset.
She said: “Victim Support is very pleased that this new contract gives us the opportunity to provide a more enhanced service to victims and to reach out to many more victims than we have been able to in the past. We know from helping thousands of victims and witnesses across Dorset every year how often people affected by crime need help to move on and this new service will give them the practical and emotional support they need.”
She added: “We look forward to working closely with the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, the new Dorset Victims’ Bureau and our partners in other charities across the county to help victims find the strength to cope and recover."
Victims’ Minister Damian Green said that victims of crime deserved the best possible suppport to help them move on with their lives.
He said: “That’s why the Government is making more money available than ever before for victims’ services and handing the majority of this funding to PCCs.
"This contract is the first of its kind and shows how the move to local commissioning is meeting the needs of the community in Dorset.
"I look forward to seeing other PCCs bringing forward their plans to transform support for victims up and down the country.”