Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has spoken out to reassure victims and survivors of crime that vital support services, commissioned through her office, are still available throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
Jane Kennedy is working with Merseyside Police and the charities which deliver the Victim Care Merseyside services to maintain the highest level of service possible during this challenging time.
Her team are in regular contact with all the Victim Care Merseyside services, including specialist sexual violence and child exploitation services, to offer help and guidance on how to best put in place contingency arrangements and adapt services to address demand. In some case, extra financial support is being offered.
While communities across Merseyside stay at home to save lives, staff providing services to victims of crime across Merseyside are working remotely to ensure victims continue to receive the support they need.
Although most face-to-face support in people’s homes and community settings has had to be suspended in line with the current stringent public health regulations, advice lines and websites continue to operate as usual with Skype counselling also an option for those most in need.
Jane Kennedy said: “I would like to reassure people across Merseyside that we are still here and ready to support you and that the Victim Care Merseyside services are still open and on hand to offer care, guidance and help as usual, despite being delivered differently.
“While the Coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on us all, for anyone who has been a victim of crime, this may be a particularly anxious time and you may feel even more frightened or isolated than usual.
“For anyone who has experienced crime there is someone here to help. We are doing everything we can to ensure critical support and advice continues to be provided to those who need it most throughout this crisis.
“If you or someone you know has been a victim, you can find a wealth of free information and advice on the Victim Care Merseyside website. On this website, you can also find a directory of services who are on hand to offer further guidance and support. You can search these organisations by the type of crime you have experienced or by geographical area, so you can find the very best placed service to help you cope and recover from your experience.”
The key Victim Care Merseyside services running as normal, with a few changes made to keep staff and volunteers safe and well, include the:
Dedicated aftercare support service for survivors of rape and sexual assault jointly delivered by RASA Merseyside and Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside;Vulnerable Victims’ Champion service for vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour delivered by Victim Support;Specialist support service for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation provided by Catch 22;Tailored hate crime support service jointly delivered by the Anthony Walker Foundation, Citizens’ Advice Liverpool, and Daisy Inclusive UK to provide specialist support according to strand, as well as a third party hate crime reporting service provided by Stop Hate UK;Support for victims of harmful practices (including FGM, forced marriage and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence) provided by Savera UK;‘The Hub’ advice centre to provide support for families who have lost a loved one to homicide, including crime-related road traffic collisions delivered by Families Fighting for Justice.
The Commissioner also continues to provide funding to each of Merseyside’s five local authorities to provide support for victims of domestic abuse, including young people. This includes funding for Independent Domestic Violence Advocates who support those in greatest need.
Jane added: “This is a challenging time, but I want to reassure people that you are not alone. Please do not suffer in silence - reach out if you are in fear or have already been a victim and help is available.
“In an emergency, where you or a family member is in immediate danger, you should always contact the police by calling 999.”
If you need help or support after a crime, visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org
The Silent Solution system helps filter out accidental or hoax 999 calls from those who need genuine police assistance.
If speaking or making an immediate sound would put you in danger and you need immediate help, call 999 and stay on the line, then press 55 when prompted and the call will be transferred to the police, who will know it is an emergency call.