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The Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) for Norfolk and Suffolk have awarded Victim Support a new three-year contract to help victims of crime cope and recover from what they have experienced.
The contract means Victim Support will remain the provider of the Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care service, which has been offering victims of crime across both counties free, confidential help, advice and support since it was launched by Norfolk PCC Lorne Green and Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore in April 2018.
PCCs are responsible for providing victim support services in their police force area and receive dedicated funding from the Ministry of Justice for that purpose.
Designed by the two PCCs’ offices, the Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care service was initially commissioned for two years, and delivered by Victim Support’s staff and volunteers based in Norwich, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
In its first 12 months of operation, Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care received thousands of referrals across the two counties, delivering tailored support to more than 1,500 victims of crime.
With the existing contract due to end next March, an open tender process was run over the summer to find an organisation to deliver the service in 2020 and beyond.
Victim Support was successful in securing the new contract which will see its Norfolk and Suffolk-based teams continue to deliver the victim care service until at least March 2023.
Norfolk PCC Lorne Green said: “The impact of crime on each individual is different. Not all victims will need or want support but, for those that do, I am committed to ensuring that it is available.
“Just as the impact of crime is different in each case, so should be the support on offer. That’s what is so good about the Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care service – it tailors the help and advice it gives based on the needs of the individual.
“Victim Support has a proven record of delivering first-class victim-centred support, and I am delighted that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk will be working with its staff and volunteers over the coming years to continue to help those affected by crime in the county.”
Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore said: “The impact of crime on victims can vary hugely and it is crucially important that I ensure support is available to meet the needs of every individual victim. Victim Support has provided an excellent service to date so I am very pleased to see this relationship with our offices will continue through this new contract.
“Supporting victims of crime is a key part of my role as PCC and this contract with Victim Support will enable victims of crime across the county to access professional and expert support at their time of need, tailored to their specific requirements.
He added, “Victims do not always want, or feel able, to contact the police so it’s really important to highlight that this support to victims is available to everyone regardless of police involvement.”
Kultar Nayyar, Services Director South East for Victim Support, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care contract until 2023. The service, launched last year, has already helped thousands of victims and witnesses of crime with enhanced support and a single point of contact as they recover from the impact of crime. We are very proud to continue this work.
“We know how many crimes go unreported, and can have a devastating effect on victims’ lives. Our important and consistent message to anyone who has been impacted is that you can access our advice and support regardless of whether you have reported the incident to police.”
How the Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care Service helps those affected by crime
“I was referred to the service by the police. What was good was that I was able to choose what I wanted to speak about. Slowly, I felt I could open up more and more. It helped having an impartial person to talk to. I’m close to my family but when I talked to them I could see it was hurting them. Dealing with things on your own – no matter how strong you think you are – is hard. Having someone to talk to helped me get back to being me.” (service user)
The Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care service provides a single point of contact for victims of crime. It can be accessed via telephone, online, via Victim Support live chat, in person at Victim Support offices in Norfolk and Suffolk, and at regular outreach and engagement events.
The service assesses the individual needs of each victim, allowing Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care’s staff and volunteers to tailor the support they offer to that person. Where appropriate, that support will include helping victims access specialist support provided by other organisations.
From arson, criminal damage and burglary, to sexual and violent offences, the service provides a safe place for people to talk through their thoughts and feelings confidentially, as well as help with practical issues such as putting in place individual safety plans, providing victims with personal alarms, assisting them with writing a Victim Personal Statement and advocating on their behalf with other agencies.
Victims do not have to report the crime to the police to access support, but service staff and volunteers can help victims make a report if they wish, and will guide them through the criminal justice process, from first steps right through to the end of the trial.
Phone lines are open weekdays between 8am and 5pm on 0300 303 3706. Outside of these hours, contact Victim Support’s 24-hour helpline on 0808 168 9111. Contact can also be made via email to email@example.com or by visiting www.nsvictimcare.org.