Surrey Police launch in-house Victim & Witness Care Unit

After months of research and planning, our new in-house Victim & Witness Care Unit launched yesterday on Monday (1 April).

‘Victim Support’ until now has been commissioned by Surrey Police using ring-fenced funding from the Ministry Of Justice to provide support to victims of crime, on behalf of the Force. From 1 April this funding stream will be channelled into the new unit instead.

The benefits of this are huge. We know that when a victim is given the right support, both practically and emotionally, not only does it aid their recovery and reduce repeat victimisation but, when teamed with an effective investigation, it improves their cooperation to support the criminal justice system and bring offenders to justice.

PCC David Munro said: “Supporting victims should always be at the heart of policing so I am delighted we are entering a new era of victim care with the launch of our unit.

“Experiencing crime can have a truly devastating effect on people and increase vulnerability. That’s why it is so important they receive the right support to recover and rebuild their lives.

“I want to make sure they have a more positive experience of the criminal justice system – from point of reporting through to resolution. That’s why it’s a major benefit Surrey Police is now delivering a complete wraparound service for both victims and witnesses, allowing far closer working between the new team and those responsible for response and investigation.”

Rachel Roberts, Head of the Victim & Witness Care Unit said: “I’m really excited to head up this new unit which will provide the much needed wraparound quality care and support for victims and witnesses of crime. All members of the team have been trained to assess a victim’s individual needs and offer support tailored to helping them cope with the immediate impact of the crime and as far as possible, recover from the harm experienced.

“While all victims of crime will be referred to the unit in the first instance, the service we provide will be a generalist support provision. We will continue to commission specialist support services where appropriate, which we’ll work alongside to ensure there’s a complete end-to-end service making it a smoother journey for victims and witnesses of crime.”

A new website has been developed to promote the services of the unit which can be found by clicking here.

Coinciding with this, from mid-April we’re set to be the first force in the country to embark on a text messaging system to survey victims of crime. Moving from the 500+ calls we make each month, we’ll be joining the likes of Sky and npower by gathering customer satisfaction information via text with a series of short questions at various points of their ‘victim journey’.

Aiming to reach around 2,000 victims each month from a range of different crime types, the questions will assess their satisfaction with the initial contact, actions taken, whether they were kept informed and the treatment they received. The responses will help give us an overview of our service and enable us to put the needs of victims at the heart of the service we provide.

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