New centre will put the needs of victims first
A new service is being launched to improve the way victims of crime are looked after in North Wales.
The Victim Help Centre is being established by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC.
The centre will create a one stop shop for victims by bringing together the support services of North Wales Police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the former Victim Support organisation.
The integrated service will start in July and will cover the whole of North Wales, providing a service tailored to the needs of individual victims.
In the meantime, Mr Roddick is organising a special conference at the Conwy Business Centre on Friday, March 20.
The keynote will be Baroness Newlove, the community reform campaigner who was appointed as the Victims' Commissioner by the UK government in 2012.
Mr Roddick said: "The new Victim Help Centre will be a more joined up service involving all the relevant agencies so that people don’t fall through the cracks.
"Working in partnership is a major theme in my Police and Crime Plan and this new service is a good example of partnership in action.
"The police are involved at the very early stages of the crime but there are others involved thereafter - the health service, social services, the third sector, the CPS and witness support services."
"We need the victims to realise that we want their support and that we care for them and the effects of crime on them.
"We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the victim is principle witness in criminal cases and, if the victim is dissatisfied with the treatment he or she receives by the police and by the other services, they will simply give up on the criminal justice system.
"Without the victim as a witness, you can do nothing to remedy the crime so everybody would lose out.
"It can be an excruciating experience when the victim has to face the person who has committed the crime in court and therefore you need to put in place necessary balustrades which will reassure the victim that there is real support for him or her as he or she journeys through that process."
The Victim Help Centre will be based in St Asaph and will provide an outreach service across North Wales.
Nicole Green, the project manager in charge of setting it up, is also confident it will lead to an improved service for victims.
She said: "What we’re trying to do is focus all victim support in one area so that victims can go to one contact point and benefit from the support of a number of agencies.
"It’s a one-stop shop essentially and what we’re trying to do is provide as much information as possible so that we can create a tailored service for everybody.
"It means that people won’t be pushed from pillar to post and we won't be duplicating services. The whole point is to make the journey easier for victims.
"It will be easier for victims to get in touch and they will also be able to self-refer if they don’t want to report to the police.
"It will be very easy to contact us on the website, over the phone or if they prefer they can actually come in as well.
"If they do need something we will do a tailored plan. They might need emotional support. They might have mental health issues because of the trauma they've been through.
"Being the victim of a crime can be traumatic and everyone reacts differently hence we need the tailored approach.
"We will focus support on victims with the greatest needs. This includes victims of serious crime, vulnerable and intimidated victims and also those persistently targeted through anti-social behaviour and we will therefore move to supporting victims based on their requirement and need and not based purely on the type of crime of which they have been a victim.
"The Victim Help Centre will ensure that the needs of victims will be at the heart of everything we do."