PCC launches new Essex Victims Gateway website
VICTIMS in Essex now have direct access to support, information and advice at the click of a button thanks to a new website launched by Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
The website, www.essexvictimsgateway.org, went live today – Monday January 19 – and offers access to the many local support groups for people who have been subjected to crimes ranging from rape to anti-social behaviour.
Victims can simply type their postcode into the site’s search facility to find out more about the support available locally to them.
Alternatively people can click on a specific crime type – such as hate crime or anti-social behaviour – which will take them to a page featuring case studies, frequently asked questions as well as live links and contact details for support groups.
The Essex Victims Gateway helps victims find support tailored to their needs, including specialist services for the most serious crimes such as rape and sexual violence.
Crucially, the website offers help to all victims, including those who have not reported a crime to police or where offences have happened in the past.
And the site also offers a “leave this site” tab, which runs through every page and, with the touch of a button, redirects users to Google in case they need to leave the page quickly.
Mr Alston said: ““The Essex Victims Gateway provides a postcode based service enabling victims to contact support and advice available in their area. It’s been designed to enable people to rapidly find the information and expertise they need.
“There is also a ‘Leave this site’ icon which is essential because there are circumstances where a person accessing the site may want to leave it quickly.
“I hope that victims find this website useful but I also really hope they find the confidence to report crimes to police quickly.”
Jan Dalrymple, Chief Executive of the Essex-based domestic abuse charity Safer Places, said: “I’m delighted the website has been pitched at victims whether or not they want to report a potential crime to the police.
“Many victims do not want to report a crime and do not know where to turn, and the Essex Victims Gateway gives access for those hidden victims to receive support from specialist agencies.
“For example, a person whose partner is showing early signs of dementia and is becoming violent, may not want to go straight to the police. Rather they want to have a confidential conversation about the options and support available to them.
“Sometimes, we – the specialist agencies – may support victims to go to the police and report a crime, but sometimes we can support them without needing to involve the criminal justice system.
“Victims frequently say to Safer Places and I’m sure other organisations: ‘We didn’t know where to go for help!’ I’m confident that the Essex Victims Gateway will help address those needs.”
The launch took place in the chamber of the Chelmsford City Council offices.
Work to develop the website and its content, in consultation with victims and their representatives, will be ongoing.
The government has decided that all victims’ commissioning funding should be controlled by PCCs from April 2015: a big and radical step. In preparing for this responsibility, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has produced a comprehensive analysis of the needs of victims and the services available to them at the moment across Essex. That analysis has supported the development of the Victims Gateway and can be read on the PCC here: