A new confidential support service for young victims of crime has more than doubled the number of people coming forward for help, it has been revealed.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa hailed the success of the Got Your Back service, which delivers practical and emotional support to help young people recover from crime.
The service, run by independent charity Remedi, was launched by the PCC in April 2016 and has seen an increasing number of young people self-refer for help from its specially-trained practitioners and volunteers.
Prior to the service’s launch, Remedi provided support to people of all age ranges but it was quickly realised a youth-led facility was desperately needed.
Between 1 September 2017 and 31 July 2018, after Got Your Back was launched, Remedi supported 216 young people aged 17 or under. This compares to just 88 young people during the same period in 2016-2017.
The figures were presented in a report to the Commissioner’s Strategic Priorities Assurance (SPA) board this week and show awareness is growing among young people about the specialised service.
Mr Dhindsa said: “I’m really encouraged by these figures which show the message is getting out there that help is available and people are ready to listen.
“There has been a determined effort to raise awareness of this service across social media platforms and through schools-based workshops and I’m very grateful to the volunteers behind this work - their efforts are clearly reaping dividends.
“Children have different needs to adult victims of crime and it’s very important the care we provide is tailored to their needs. By working with young victims of crime at the earliest opportunity, we will prevent mental health issues escalating in the future and give children the best chance of a full recovery.”
Jo Reynolds, Remedi’s Manager for Derbyshire said: “I am extremely proud of Got Your Back and the increase in victim engagement we have seen over the last 12 months.
Our practitioners and volunteers are incredibly passionate and dedicated and have been working hard to ensure the service is promoted to as many young people as possible. I am eager to see more young people access the vital support they need following an offence and this is something we will continue to strive towards."
A number of workshops have been held in schools in Derby City and Derbyshire, specifically in areas which have been experiencing high levels of antisocial behaviour.
The workshops, which cover a range of topics including hate crime, are built around victim awareness and consequences of behaviour and reach both perpetrators and victims of crime.
Project leaders use a variety of educational tools to help deliver powerful messages about victimisation including story boards, timelines and thought jars which encourage young people to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
Remedi has also set up a host of social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to make it easier for young people to self-refer to the service.
In addition, they continually seek to improve the service by asking young people to complete evaluations and by holding young victim forums at regular intervals throughout the year to identify the current issues affecting them.
Mr Dhindsa added: “Got Your Back is still in its infancy however I have high hopes for the service and will continue to do what I can to ensure it builds on this success.”
The Commissioner has outlined a number of priorities in his Police and Crime Plan to improve the safety of young people and cater for their needs.
Innovations include the recruitment of a dedicated Digital PCSO to deliver presentations in schools on cyber safety and the training of a PCSO from North Division as a CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Ambassador) to share best-practice with officers and increase awareness among the public.
Media enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012
Posted on Thursday 27th September 2018