Victims and witnesses are being reminded of their right to receive support as part of the inaugural Criminal Justice Week, which begins today.
Steve Welby, head of the Peterborough-based Hub, said victims had rights under the Code of Practice for Victims, including the right to be referred to support services tailored to their needs, to be given information about a trial, trial process and their role as a witness, and to be given information about the outcome of the case and any appeals.
He said: “I want victims and witnesses to know that they do not have to cope with the impact of crime alone.
“We will try and contact all victims of crime, where we feel it safe to do so, either by phone, or by e-mail or letter.
“Victims and witnesses affected by crime can also contact the Hub directly through our freephone number or our e-mail address.”
Darryl Preston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “I am incredibly proud of the victim services I commission in our county.
“Partner organisations and charities are able to provide a wide range of specialist services to victims of all crimes, from sexual violence to burglary and modern slavery to road traffic collisions.
“At the heart of our victim services model is the Victim and Witness Hub. Feedback from those who have received help from the Hub speaks for itself, with 86 per cent reporting that they felt more informed and empowered to act.”
Formed in 2014, the Hub now has 20 trained care coordinators, nine trained volunteers, support staff and specialist coordinators to provide mental health support, support to young victims and their families, support to migrant victims of exploitation and trafficking and Restorative Justice https://restorativejustice.org.uk/
They support the victims and witnesses based on their needs, recognising that the impact of crime on individuals can differ considerably.
Victims can also access free emotional and practical support from the Hub to help them cope and recover from their experience, regardless of whether it has been reported to the police or not.
- As well as being provided by specialist mental health coordinators, emotional help is provided from the likes of mental health charity MIND and the NHS, whereas practical help for victims of crimes such as burglary and theft comes from the Cambridgeshire Bobby Scheme (https://www.thebobbyscheme.org/), which offers security equipment and safety advice.
- The Road Victims Trust https://www.rvtrust.org.uk/can provide emotional and practical support to anyone who has been affected by a road collision.
- The Hub also keeps victims and witnesses up-to-date with the progress of court proceedings and helps them to give evidence to the court.
- The Hub freephone advice number is 0800 781 6818 and a directory to all the specialist victim and witness services can be found at www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk.
The inaugural Criminal Justice Week runs from today (May 23) to Friday and aims to highlight the diversity of the work of the criminal justice system.