COLUMN: Supportive justice values crime victims

It can take a lifetime to repair the emotional damage caused by crime but good quality professional support helps vulnerable people take those tentative steps towards recuperation with greater confidence.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 4th December 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:30 pm

No one deserves to become a victim of crime but victims deserve the best possible response to their situation and this is something I’m determined to make happen across Derbyshire.

There are lots of ways to achieve better victims’ care but the priority, for me, is to help people recover from their experience and move forwards with their lives.

Victims of crime see their lives turned upside down in a moment and accessing help for that experience shouldn’t add to their confusion or turmoil. One way we can help is by working together with partner services more effectively.

How do we achieve simplicity? One way is to bring service provision together under one roof which is why we recently decided to co-locate Derbyshire Constabulary’s witness care team with the CORE victim services I commissioned earlier this year at the force HQ. This will ensure victims and witnesses’ needs are now managed from a centralised point. It won’t change how people access help but it will ensure their cases are managed more coherently.

Our CORE services, delivered by Remedi UK, offer emotional and practical support for all types of victims including those affected by hate crime, young people and soon victims of antisocial behaviour. It also oversees restorative justice intervention bringing victims and offenders together when appropriate to aid recovery and create solutions.

Restorative justice remains a key component of our recovery services and this is an area I’m continually looking to expand. Restorative justice can have an extremely powerful impact on a victim of crime, helping them to understand and accept their experience, both of which are vital to long-term healing.

In North Derbyshire, Remedi is currently working with someone who was sexually assaulted by his schoolteacher. The victim’s impact statement was never read out at court so that person’s views were never heard. Next week, with Remedi case workers, the victim will meet the offender in custodial circumstances. The victim has a lot of compassion but is keen to make the offender aware of the long-term issues they have suffered as a result of the assault. I’m pleased to hear reports that so far, so good.

Victims of crime deserve our support, care and respect so that they can move on with their lives. I’m absolutely determined that they will get it.