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'Lighthouse provides a vital service for victims' says Victims' Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove

PCC-Sue-Mountstevens-Baroness-Newlove-and-CC-Andy-Marsh

PCC Sue Mountstevens, Baroness Helen Newlove and Chief Constable Andy Marsh

A visit from one of the nation’s most prominent victims’ campaigners has inspired the staff at Avon and Somerset’s dedicated service to support victims and witnesses.

Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove today (November 21) visited Lighthouse, victim and witness care at the Bridewell police station, Bristol, for the second time. She visited the service, which has just celebrated its second-year anniversary and then met with Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Andy Marsh.

During her visit Baroness Newlove said: “Victims of crime have often told me that they don’t know where or who to turn to when they need help and support, which is why services in their local area are so important.

"The Lighthouse project provides a vital service for victims in Avon and Somerset, and my visit today has demonstrated how much this successful project has developed in the last two years. The dedicated team provide thousands of victims each month with a single point of contact - offering much-needed support and information, at a time victims need it most.

"I look forward to seeing how this service continues to improve and evolve in the future."

Sue Mountstevens said: “Putting victims at the heart of everything we do has been a priority for me since day one of my first term; and it continues to be a priority for me in my second-term as PCC. As a victim you are subject to an ordeal, through no fault of your own, which can result in life changing circumstances and memories you may struggle to forget.

"When a victim is vulnerable they need stability and support. Working together, side-by-side we can all be fierce advocates for victims – putting their needs first and helping them on the road to recovery, regaining control of their life and overcoming their traumatic experience.

“I was delighted Baroness Newlove has visited us again to see first-hand the pioneering work we are carrying out in Avon and Somerset on behalf of victims. Like us, Baroness Newlove is passionate about supporting victims of crime and anti-social behaviour and making a real difference to people’s lives.”

Natalie Steadman, the Head of Lighthouse, said: “We were delighted to receive another visit from the Baroness. Enabling a victim to get through their journey, to cope and recover, is the reason we do what we do. However a visit like today really inspires the team and renews their passion for supporting victims.

“I am proud of what has been achieved over the past two-years. I know we are making a difference and I am inspired by the thank-you letters we regularly receive from victims, which highlight both the importance and need for our service."

The Lighthouse service, launched two-years ago on October 1, 2014, to support victims and witnesses of crime across Avon and Somerset. Sue Mountstevens’ commissioned the service which has supported more than 75,000 vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Lighthouse staff provide a vital single point of contact to keep victims and witnesses up-to-date and provides signposting to other agencies and support services.

A victim supported by Lighthouse said: "I feel that people when they are a victim of crime feel very much alone and at a loss. I was approached by a member of the Lighthouse team and I was very grateful to speak to her. They not only make you feel empowered but the Lighthouse staff were there for me every step of the way.

"They arranged everything I could possibly need, but more importantly they have this amazing way of talking to you as if you matter and nothing is too much trouble for them. You can discuss any problem that you feel you have and you can approach them whenever you wish."

Posted on Monday 21st November 2016
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