New services to support victims and Community Safety Development Fund
The way in which victims are supported in Essex is changing radically from April 1, 2015, with the services that are currently commissioned nationally by the Ministry of Justice now to be commissioned locally by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Nick Alston said: “I believe this major change will be to the benefit of victims of crime across Essex, as it will help to deliver local solutions for local problems – one of the key principles of my work as Police and Crime Commissioner.
“In preparation for this change, for the past few months my team has undertaken a thorough assessment of existing victim support services across our county, identifying projects that are working exceptionally well and areas where there may be a gap or lack of provision. I’m confident that the new arrangements will build on and develop some excellent initiatives, and commission some important new services to help support victims of crime.”
Some of the key developments include:
– from April 1, a new referral and assessment service will be run across Essex to improve services previously commissioned centrally by the Ministry of Justice. On a day-to-day basis, this programme will be run by Victim Support on behalf of the PCC;
– work with independent charity Safer Places to expand the number of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) to provide specialist support to high-risk victims of domestic abuse across all of Essex. IDVAs increase the chance of early intervention in domestic abuse situations to prevent harm from occurring;
– the expansion of the provision of specialist sexual violence support into West Essex where previously no specialist provision was available;
– better coordination and delivery of Restorative Justice, with the creation of a pilot Restorative Justice hub in West Essex giving victims involved in a crime or conflict the opportunity to meet or communicate with those who have offended against them in a safe way.
The PCC will also be building on the success of the New Initiatives Fund, which has provided over £650,000 to more than 60 local voluntary, community and statutory sector partners since 2013, including important projects such as:
– Firebreak, working to turn young people away crime;
– Only Cowards Carry, educating young people about the dangers of knife crime,
– the Jaywick project, helping to create a self-sustaining outreach and drop-in centre for ex-offenders in one of the most deprived parts of Essex.
From April 1, 2015, the work of the New Initiatives Fund will be incorporated into the new Community Safety Development Fund (CSDF). The CSDF removes the necessity for eligible projects to be new, providing the PCC with additional flexibility to support projects that may have been operating successfully in the past or may require reduced continuation funding in order to remain sustainable.
Nick Alston said: “I’m delighted that the New Initiatives Fund has helped some excellent community-based initiatives to be tested and developed throughout Essex, with some real success stories. The Community Safety Development Fund will build on this work. I invite everyone involved in local projects to look at the areas of focus in the Police and Crime Plan for Essex and see if their work could potentially be suitable for funding.”
Details of the criteria for applying for funding from the CSDF can be seen on the PCC website here.
PCC’s areas of focus
In order to be considered eligible for funding from the CSDF, applications must demonstrate an impact against at least one of the areas in the Police Crime Plan, as follows:
• Ensuring local solutions meet local problems
• Reducing domestic abuse and all other hidden harms
• Supporting victims of crime
• Reducing youth offending and all types of re-offending
• Tackling the consequences of alcohol and drugs abuse and mental health issues
• Improving road safety
• Improving crime prevention
• Increasing efficiency in policing through collaborative working and innovation