More than 150 young victims of crime have accessed support from a new dedicated service set up to help them recover, it has been revealed.
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa said dozens of youngsters had received help since he commissioned the Got Your Back scheme in April. A further 100 young victims of crime had been offered support under the initiative.
The project, run by voluntary organisation Remedi, was set up to offer specialist support to young people aged 17 and under to help them cope and recover from the crimes committed against them. Through its website and engagement events, the service also raises awareness on the ways young people can report crime to the police.
So far, the service has contacted 255young people to offer support, with 159young people accepting help. By the end of December, it is hoped 360 young people will have been contacted and offered support.
Commenting on the progress, Mr Dhindsa said: “What is most reassuring about this update is that more than 20 of these young victims have referred themselves to the scheme.
“The value in this is obvious; many young victims of crime live in fear or silence and never report their experiences to police. If we can build trust and awareness in this service, more young people will be motivated to seek out the specialist help they need and take those tentative steps to recovery before problems spiral. It will also help us to protect their safety.
“I’ve said from the outset that this service will turn away no one; even when a crime hasn’t been reported or committed. The emphasis is on listening to young people, giving them the tools they need to rebuild their lives, and signposting them to the professionals who can help if this isn’t immediately possible.”
One service user, a 13-year-old schoolgirl, self-referred to the service after being threatened with violence and punched in the face by two boys at a bus stop who then fled the scene.
Following the incident, the school girl had low self-confidence and esteem and was unable to say anything positive about her life. After contacting the service, she was allocated a young person case worker who introduced the ‘BElieve in YOUrself’ jar where she had to add one positive note a day to the jar. On low days, she had to empty the jar and read all the positive notes about herself.
During the course of her involvement with the scheme, the teenager grew in confidence and even joined a local football team with the support of her parents which was regarded as a huge step forward.
Got Your Back is now seeing increased self-referrals to the service on a monthly basis, which is partly down to its awareness-raising workshops in schools and public events. Project leaders are also using the platform of social media to reach young people and make them aware of the help on offer.
A number of workshops have already been held in schools in Derby City and Derbyshire, specifically in areas which have been experiencing high levels of antisocial behaviour.
The workshops are built around victim awareness and consequences of behaviour. So far, six events have been held which have engaged almost 1,000 pupils.
Mr Dhindsa added: “It’s clear that we have some way to go to ensure every young victim who needs help accepts the support on offer but these figures demonstrate the strong start that has been made thus far.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 7th December 2016