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Putting victims at the heart of the Criminal Justice System
A new victim’s lead has been appointed to help make sure victims are being given the support they need when they turn to us for help.The journey through the criminal justice system can be confusing, complex and daunting. Sometimes, the experience is so overwhelming that victims lack the confidence to support a case at 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, we are working together to transform the service. Speaking about the new integrated victim services programme, Assistant Chief Constable Dave Hayler said: “We want to take a new look at how victims interact with the criminal justice system to make sure their experience is a seamless and supportive one. This will include an honest, comprehensive look at what we do now and how we can work better with our partners, both within the criminal justice services and beyond to improve what we offer victims in the future.“In November we began looking for someone who could lead this change and I’m delighted to announce that we have appointed Natalie Steadman to the role. Natalie already works for us in a safeguarding role and this will stand her in good stead as she gets to grips with the new role. “Natalie’s role, along with a small team, is to place victims at the heart of what we do, implement a new victim referral system, and deliver a joint approach with all Avon and Somerset Constabulary's Criminal Justice Services, our partners and the local/unitary authorities. But fundamentally, it’s about ensuring victims are properly supported and treated.”Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am determined that we are going to make a real difference in giving victims a much better voice and appointing Natalie is only the first step in making fundamental changes to services for victims.“I would like to congratulate Natalie as the successful individual who will lead this exciting and ground breaking new approach in Avon and Somerset. The hard work has begun and along with our partners, the police, the Probation Service and other statutory and voluntary organisations we will start to make services better for victims of crime.”Speaking about her new role, Natalie said: “The role of victims within the criminal justice process is something I feel strongly about and I’m excited to be given the chance to help shape their experience. My priority will be to understand the gaps in the service we currently provide and look at what we can do better.“Our role should be to help victims cope with and recover from the effects of crime. Our supportive role should begin as soon as someone calls 101 or 999 and from there we will be with them every step of the way through the criminal justice process. With the probation service and other agencies we’ll be working together to make sure this happens.”