Improving support for victims of crime
Victims of crime are getting their lives back on track, thanks to a range of support services on offer in Essex.
People falling victim to crime in the county are supported via Essex Police and the initiatives it has in place.
Alongside police officers who keep victims up-to-date with investigations, we also fund a range of general and specialist services to help victims to cope and recover:
Victim Support delivers a general support service to all victims of crime in Essex. About 10,000 people are referred per quarter, with up to 2,000 engaging directly. More than 70 per cent of victims who engage are better able to cope, feel safer and more informed after receiving support.
For victims of sexual offences, Synergy provides Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and community support. Over the last year, the demand has gone from 750 victims in the first quarter of 2020/2021 to 1,047 over the same period in 2021/2022. More than 90 per cent of victims are better to cope, can communicate their needs and feel safer.
Compass runs a 24/7 domestic abuse helpline, while Changing Pathways and Next Chapter provide Independent Domestic Violence Advisors, community outreach and refuge. All three services are provided in partnership with Essex County Council and other partners, and form part of the countywide response to domestic abuse overseen by the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board.
We invested £832,863 this year into Independent Domestic Abuse Advisors (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Abuse Advisors (ISVAs). The funding from the National ISVA and IDVA Fund and Critical Support Fund was shared between Victim Support, domestic abuse charities Changing Pathways and Next Chapter, and the consortium of rape and sexual abuse specialist support services, Synergy Essex. The funding meant two additional caseworkers could be recruited at Victim Support to work with standard and medium risk victims of domestic abuse, providing telephone and face-to-face support. At Changing Pathways, the money was invested in five specialist domestic abuse advocates, including expanding the service to include an advisor for young people. Synergy used the additional funding to increase capacity for Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs).
For some, having professionally mediated communication with the perpetrator of the crime that affected them is a positive way to help them to cope and recover.
For perpetrators, it can also offer a life-changing experience as they come face-to-face with the people their actions have impacted and feel the emotional cost of their actions.
The Essex Restorative and Mediation Service received 368 referrals during 2021/2022, an increase of 24 per cent compared to 2020/21.
Of those providing feedback, 73 per cent said the process had a positive impact on them and 89 per cent said they were satisfied with the service they received.
All of the perpetrators who provided feedback said they would behave differently going forward.