Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold is encouraging victims of crime to find out more about the free advice and support available for them from the Staffordshire Victim Gateway.
Staffordshire is the first area in the country to pioneer the new Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)-led approach which is unique because it is based locally. Offering a tailored service for victims, the Gateway is able to give timely advice and emotional and practical support to victims in the way that suits them best.
For the first time support is being offered to all victims of crime and the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and Citizens Advice Bureau are keen to encourage victims who are vulnerable or who do not feel they can report crime to police to contact the Gateway for support.
The appeal was made at an event, organised by the Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureau to showcase the work of the Victim Gateway. The event highlighted the work of the Gateway which was officially launched by national Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove in Staffordshire in September 2015.
Latest figures show that by the end of May over 36,000 people were offered help through the Victim Gateway, an improvement on the 23,000 people helped in the 12 months prior to the Gateway being launched.
Sue Arnold, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, said: “This free service has really benefitted a number of victims of crime throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent already.
“The advice and support given by the Victim Gateway will positively impact people’s lives because of the additional benefits victims will experience, such as better accessibility and local knowledge.
“Previously, the very services that were there to support victims and witnesses were anything but user-friendly, meaning the experience people have of the courts and criminal justice system was as taxing and traumatic as the original incident. The Staffordshire Victim Gateway has been a significant change that fully focuses the attention on victims, where it belongs.”
Matthew Ellis, Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, said: “The Gateway offers a ‘one-stop’ access to services and gives direction, protection and support to victims, witnesses and their families.
“The Gateway ensures that the system fits the victim rather than the victim having to fit around the system. It puts victims at the heart of decision-making, meaning that they are treated as individuals.”
Simon Harris, Chief Executive of Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent CAB, said: “We have been very busy over the last 9 months developing the service, and identifying areas of work we still have to carry out.
“That work includes encouraging people to self-refer to the service, because the service is available not just to people who have reported their crime to the police but to anyone who has been a victim of crime. We urge people who may be reluctant to report the crime to the police but who none the less want support to get in touch.”
The Victim Gateway contract was awarded to the CAB as part of work by Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis to provide better support for victims and put their needs back at the centre of the criminal justice system.
To find out more about the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner visit www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk.
More information on the Victim Gateway is available at www.staffsvictimsgateway.org.uk or by ringing 0330 0881 339.
At the Victim Gateway Showcase was, left to right, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold, Specialist and Equalities manager for CAB Jude Hawes, Victim Gateway Project Co-ordinator Jo Moss and Simon Harris, CEO of Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent CAB