Victims’ services advocates
Helping to shine a light on victims' issues
In 2011 Victim Support launched a new project with Louise Casey (former Commissioner for victims and witnesses) to find out more about the issues affecting local victims and witnesses of crime. We worked with Louise to recruit a national network of victims’ services advocates (VSAs) to research and report on local victim and witness issues and the work has continued since Louise stepped down.
The VSA team talked to victims and witnesses about their experience of crime and identified what services are available across England and Wales.
Their findings have come together in a series of local reports that raise awareness of important issues affecting victims and witnesses. These reports will also help the new police and crime commissioners as each police force have victim and witness issues on their agenda.
What we did and how we did it
Through a series of focus groups and interviews we spoke to victims and witnesses about their experiences locally including:
- how they were treated by the police and criminal justice system
- if they found suitable support services to help them through this difficult time in their life
- whether or not they reported the crime, and if not, why.
We spoke to people who had been victims and witnesses in the last two years, to ensure that the information they gave us was relatively up-to-date. The only exception to this was in the area of sexual violence as it is common for such victims not to report these offences for some time.
The project focused on the needs of:
- victims of antisocial behaviour
- victims of domestic abuse
- victims of sexual violence
- people bereaved by murder and manslaughter
- victims of hate crime.
We also looked at a range of information from:
- mapping existing services
- reviewing research
- consulting partners and stakeholders
- analysis of British Crime Survey (BCS) statistics.
Local reports (by police force area)
Reports are being launched individually at various dates through to June 2012. Copies will be published online to coincide with each launch. While many local stakeholders were consulted during our research, they were not involved in signing off the final reports.