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Putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system


For victims of crime, the journey through the criminal justice system can be confusing, complex, and daunting. Sometimes, especially if they have to give evidence, the experience is so overwhelming for victims that they lack the confidence to go right through with a case to court.

Together, Avon and Somerset Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Probation Service and other statutory and voluntary partners have recognised this.  In a ground breaking new approach to put the victims at the heart of the criminal justice system, they are working to transform the service.

The highly successful IMPACT programme, which led the way nationally in integrated offender management, brought together all the agencies – police, probation, drugs workers, housing and employment services – into a single integrated team to support offenders leaving prison to build a life away from crime.

Now, led by the police, the PCC and probation, and supported by other agencies across the criminal justice system and beyond, the same principles are being applied to build an integrated team that will support victims from the moment they become a victim through to the final resolution in court or through restorative justice.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, said: “Putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system is one of my key priorities highlighted in my Police and Crime Plans.  I want victims to know that they will be believed, taken seriously and will be dealt with effectively and compassionately by everyone they deal with.  All too frequently during the election and in my role as PCC I have heard directly from victims that that has not been the case.  That can’t be right.  Victims deserve better.” 

The new integrated victim services programme is so important that a new senior post has been created to lead the work and a search is actively underway to find the right person with the passion and vision to make this happen.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Hayler said: “We’re looking for someone who cares passionately about the needs of victims, someone who will be their voice and champion the work to bring everyone together under one roof. We want to achieve the same kind of wrap-around service for victims from crime to court that we have for our integrated offender management.”

Sally Lewis, Chief Probation Officer, has long been an advocate of a better deal for victims and is fully behind the move to a single integrated team for victims.  She said: “Avon and Somerset Probation Trust have a statutory responsibility to provide services to the victims of the most serious crime.  We wholeheartedly support the leadership being displayed by the PCC, Sue Mountstevens to create better integrated services to victims of crime and we will continue to work hard alongside our partners to ensure this initiative is a success.”

You can view the job advertisement here: http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/recruitment/police_staff/Details.aspx?JobID=1656

More information about the Integrated Victim Strategy is available here: http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/information/documents/Section.aspx?s=53#DID_7789

Posted on Wednesday 20th November 2013
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