A brand-new service offering increased support to the victims who need it most has been launched across the Avon and Somerset area today (Wednesday November 12th).
Victims who are vulnerable, intimidated, persistently targeted or experience serious crime will be offered practical and emotional support and guided through the criminal justice process by specially-trained staff. The service, called Lighthouse, has teams made up of both police staff and independent support workers and volunteers.
The new service will also provide support to victims of anti-social behaviour and will be available to victims of crime who don’t want to report their experience to the police.
The service was visited by Victim's Commissioner Baroness Newlove, a tireless campaigner for victims since the tragic death of her husband Garry in 2007. Baroness Newlove attended Bristol’s Lighthouse office this afternoon, speaking to senior officers and meeting the team.
Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove said: “I am delighted to attend the launch of Avon and Somerset’s Victim Care Lighthouse.
“It is very encouraging to see Sue Mountstevens and her team working hard to place victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.
“I have been calling for victims of crime to be given one person to stay in contact with them, provide advice, and support them throughout their journey and beyond. Which is why I very much welcome the steps taken by Avon and Somerset to deliver this and I wish them well with their project in the coming months.”
The new service helps realise Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens’ commitment to put the victim at the heart of the criminal justice system. Last year, work began to understand better the journey victims take and found that while a lot of good work was happening there were some gaps in the service. As part of a wider Integrated Victim Care programme, Avon and Somerset Police worked closely with partners to design and implement the new multi-agency teams.
Speaking at the launch, Sue Mountstevens said: “Lighthouse has come a long way since it was originally talked about. I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved and the hard work that has been involved in getting to this point, the launch of our new service.
“The programme has remained true to the vision of putting victims first and helping those most vulnerable throughout their recovery. We have a chance to make a real difference and I feel Lighthouse can deliver this for victims.”
Assistant Chief Constable Kay Wozniak added: “I am delighted that we have been able to launch this new service for the public today. The role of our frontline officers is crucial as the first point of contact for victims of crime and this is very much still the case but Lighthouse will enable us to further supplement this service.
“Lighthouse will help to provide our most vulnerable victims with a tailored, coordinated and consistent service which removes duplication in our processes, making it simpler for victims, partner agencies and our staff.
You can find out more about Lighthouse Victim Care here: http://lighthousevictimcare.org/
Posted on Wednesday 12th November 2014