Home Latest news Victim Care Merseyside hub provides dedicated support for more than 650 people each month in its first year

Victim Care Merseyside hub provides dedicated support for more than 650 people each month in its first year

by Jonathan Kearney

Two victims of crime have described the life-changing difference the Victim Care Merseyside hub has made to their lives, as the service marks its first year in operation.

The hub was launched by the Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, and Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, last November to provide free, confidential, non-judgemental advice and support for all victims of crime across the region and in its first year more than 40,000 vulnerable people have been offered support.

On average, 660 people each month are now having their needs assessed by a Victim Care Adviser who helps to give them any advice and support they require. For those needing ongoing support, the team put a personal care plan put in place focused on providing them with the emotional and practical care they need to help them to cope and recover.

Among those who have accessed the hub’s help over the past year is Trish – a close family friend and neighbour of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was left devastated after the murder of the nine-year-old.

Trish said: “The night Olivia was murdered; I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I was afraid to go out.

She added: “I am not one for saying how I feel, and I was keeping a lot to myself. Any little noise was scaring me. I wouldn’t go outside on my own, wouldn’t even go to the shop on my own. I was just too scared.”

Trish was referred to the Victim Care Merseyside hub by her sister-in-law. She said: “Two hours I was on the phone, crying most of the time, but she (the Victim Care Adviser) was so chatty, so understanding. The support was amazing.”

She added: “I would say definitely contact the hub, the support I’ve had was amazing and it’s so easy to talk to them. Just speak to the hub – it’s the best thing you can do.”

Joanne also reached out to the hub after she discovered her mum Anne’s bungalow had been burgled.

To mark the first anniversary of the hub, she met her Victim Care Adviser, Alicia face-to-face for the first time.

Joanne said: “Speaking to you (Alicia) every week, I was looking forward to your call because I knew things had built up and I needed to speak to you. There was always a form of contact. It’s made a massive difference to how I felt when it happened to how I feel now.

Asked if she would recommend the Victim Care Merseyside hub to other people affected by crime, Joanne added: “I would say get the help you need – they are amazing. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Delivered by a team of 15 specialist Victim Care Advisers and Managers, the Victim Care Merseyside hub provides a single point of contact for all victims of crime, whether they have reported an incident to the police or not.

Victims who do report a crime to Merseyside Police now automatically receive information about the Victim Care Merseyside hub explaining the help and support they can provide, with victims who are identified as being particularly vulnerable being proactively contacted by the team.

Victims who don’t wish to speak to the police are able to access advice and support directly and in confidence by calling Freephone 0808 175 3080 or online at www.victimcaremerseyside.org.

The hub is an integral part of the Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell’s wider Victim Care Merseyside service, linking in closely with the 10 other independent services already commissioned to provide specialist support services to those affected by the most serious and harmful crimes, including rape and sexual assault, child exploitation and hate crime.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “I’m extremely proud of the support the Victim Care Merseyside hub has provided since we launched it last November – thousands of victims of crime offered support each and every month and hundreds of vulnerable people undergoing an assessment of their needs and receiving the support they need.

“Trish and Joanne’s testimony speaks volumes about the difference the team makes – by listening, by understanding and by providing practical and emotional support they are helping victims and survivors to cope and recover from the traumas they’ve experienced and move forward positively with their lives.

“Ensuring every victim gets the right support, at the right time, in the right way is an absolute priority for me and that’s exactly what Victim Care Merseyside hub is delivering and I’m incredibly grateful to the whole team for their work over the past year.

“To anyone who is out there suffering in the wake of a crime, I would absolutely echo Trish’s words ‘just speak to the hub – it’s the best thing you can do’.”

Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “The Victim Care Merseyside hub underlines the commitment of Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure victims and survivors are supported at every stage of their journey.

“In the 12 months since the hub was launched, its dedicated staff have helped hundreds of victims every month with support ranging from simply listening or offering advice, to referrals for specialist support services or seeking assistance from other community partners.

“The two video case studies that have been published this week are incredible examples of the difference the support provided by Victim Care Merseyside has made to members of our community following the impact of two very different crimes.

“It makes me proud to see that both cases have involved not only the specialist support of hub staff but also the sensitivity and compassion of police officers, detectives and police staff.

“I would urge any resident in Merseyside who has been a victim of crime and is unsure about reaching out for support for whatever reason, to watch the case studies and contact Victim Care Merseyside.”

Victim Care Merseyside hub manager Nicky Griffiths said: “We know that in the wake of a crime, many people feel lost, vulnerable, sometimes scared. They don’t always know how to pick up the pieces. They need a simple, straightforward way of accessing support.

“That’s exactly what we are here to provide. We understand how you feel, and we are here to support you.”

If you’ve been affected by crime, Victim Care Merseyside is here to provide support. Call Freephone 0808 175 3080 on weekdays between 8am and 6pm or request support online at www.victimcaremerseyside.org at any time.