Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove of Warrington visited Northamptonshire last week (Thursday, 22nd June) as part of her commitment to visiting every Police and Crime Commissioner area by March 2019.
The visit gave her the opportunity to see how the county is delivering victim services, how we are addressing the needs and requirements of the victims in our region, and how the services will develop and evolve to continue to meet the needs of these victims.
During her trip she met with the Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, Chief Constable Simon Edens, and spoke directly with victims and witnesses of crime, to hear first-hand about their experiences and the support they receive from Voice – the free, confidential service commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner to support victims and witnesses in the county.
The Victim’s Commissioner was really keen to listen to the views of victims and witnesses, understand the criminal justice system from their point of view, in order to try to help improve the services and support available to them.
During her trip she attended the Hemmingwell Centre in Wellingborough, and spent time on the Voice Young People and Children’s service Outreach Bus, meeting with and listening to young people affected by crime, and learnt about the emotional support, practical assistance and guidance they and their parents receive.
Baroness Newlove also met with a victim of child sexual exploitation. This brave youngster shared their story and discussed the support they are receiving from the RISE team – which is a multi-agency team specialising in reducing incidents of sexual exploitation. The Victims’ Commissioner was impressed by the collaborative multi-agency approach of this team.
Baroness Newlove said: “Thank you for the warm welcome to Northamptonshire. I particularly want to thank all the victims of crime who took the time to share their personal experiences with me and tell me about the support they’ve received. I was truly humbled to meet with them and hear about what they have endured.
“It is so important that victims and their families receive the emotional support they need and have access to information to help them through their criminal justice journey. The opportunity for me to visit services and hear people’s experiences face to face is essential – and will ultimately lead to improving services for victims and witnesses.
“This visit enabled me to spend time with Voice: Children and Young People service, speaking to young people and listening to their heart breaking stories of being bullied, intimidated and assaulted. It was so humbling to learn about the therapeutic methods they were being given to empower them, and how the service also supports parents throughout all of this. The highlight of the day was being shown around the Outreach Bus by the young people who informed me of how it helps them and enables the youth workers to engage in early intervention programmes.
“I was pleased to see how Northamptonshire have developed services for children and young people, and look forward to seeing how they continue to expand on this and the other great services that are provided.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am determined that the services we offer to victims and witnesses of crime are seamless and can meet the different needs of communities across our county. It is vital that every victim is provided with the support they need to cope, recover and thrive. We are pleased that Baroness Newlove came to hear about the work we are doing here in Northamptonshire.”