Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has revealed that he has asked the charity Victim Support to deliver a more localised service to victims of crime in Derbyshire, on the day he takes over responsibility for commissioning victims services in the county.
The new service, which starts today (1 October), is due to run for the next 18 months, and will bring together the work of a host of public protection partners including police, local authorities and charities. It builds on the ethos of recent legislation  requiring Commissioners to consider efficient and effective provision in the long-term as well as their social value to public services.
The Commissioner has tasked the charity to use local funding  for victims’ services to provide an enhanced service to support victims and witnesses in Derbyshire. He is keen for the new service plan to get underway so that more people can get the help they need if they become a crime victim, particularly those who are vulnerable.
Derbyshire is an ‘Early Adopter’ in commissioning victims services, with the Commissioner keen to ensure a tailor-made local service for local people as soon as was feasible, instead of the previously nationally funded service provision. Derbyshire is one of just seven areas to launch the new arrangements this month, well in advance of the deadline set for 1 April 2015.
Victim Support has been delivering services in Derbyshire for victims and witnesses of crime using its 40 years of expertise. The charity aims to make sure local victims and witnesses of crime get the support they need and the respect they deserve.
Under the new system, victims of personal safety crimes -- including burglary, assault, and robbery -- can go directly to the service or be referred by police to Victim Support’s local victim care officers based in the new Derbyshire team office. This is a change from the current service, where the charity’s victim care unit in Leicester responds to all crime victims in the East Midlands.
Crime victims who require in-depth support will be offered an enhanced level of service from one of Victim Support’s specialist caseworkers or trained volunteers. Having a single point of contact at the charity will help people know where and how to get help if they are the victim of a crime.
Victims of domestic violence and sexual violence will be supported by local specialist organisations in the county, commissioned by the Mr Charles, as is currently the case.
Commenting on the announcement, Commissioner Charles said: “Victims and witnesses in Derbyshire deserve the very best support and advice possible to help their recovery journey. Along with our wider criminal justice partners including local authorities, it is our responsibility to ensure that happens and I intend to utilise our resources in the most effective way to improve the experience overall of victims of crime.
“The new approach we’ve adopted will provide vulnerable people with more centralised and co-ordinated access to help. By managing support services at a local level, we will be better able to meet the needs of our communities and target provision to where it is most needed.”
Olwen Edwards, Divisional Manager of Victim Support in Derbyshire, said: "We are working closely with the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure more crime victims in the county get the support they need. From helping thousands of victims and witnesses every year in Derbyshire, we know what practical and emotional support is most needed by people affected by crime. From our experience victims are impressed that local people volunteer to support them through difficult times.
"As a charity Victim Support relies on small donations as well as big funders to be able to continue our work helping people find the strength to cope and recover after being the victim of a crime. Our local staff and trained volunteers continue to work hard to give crime victims in Derbyshire the support they need."
Notes to editors
 Derbyshire is one of the first counties to commission local victim services following the decision by the Ministry of Justice to end national funding. Other Police and Crime Commissioners are expected to begin commissioning similar services in the coming weeks and months. The Ministry of Justice has asked for all victim service provision to be in place by 1 April 2015.
 Public Services (Social Value) Act requires Police and Crime Commissioners, to consider “economic, social and environmental well-being” when procuring services and how they can drive more efficient and effective provision in the long-term
 Victim Support is an independent charity for victims and witness of crime in England and Wales. Last year it contacted more than one million victims of crime and supported more than 200,000 witnesses as they gave evidence at criminal trials through its Witness Service. Victim Support also provides the Homicide Service supporting families bereaved by murder and manslaughter, which has helped nearly 5,000 people, and runs more than 100 local projects tackling antisocial behaviour, domestic violence and other problems. The charity is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
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Posted on Wednesday 1st October 2014