IN THE first 100 days of a victim support centre being up and running, thousands of victims have been supported.

“I have finally got hope that things will get better.” 

These are the words of a victim of crime who has been supported by the victim care unit since it launched 100 days ago.

The unit, made up of 18 victim care officers (VCOs) based in the Connect Gwent Victims’ Hub in Blackwood, have been providing help and care to victims since 12 July.

In the first 100 days, they have supported 2,761 victims with tailored needs assessments and have referred 418 victims for further support with partner agencies within Connect Gwent.

The VCOs act as the central point of contact for victims from the point of reporting a crime to the conclusion of the criminal justice process. They are working closely with officers to ensure victims are fully updated on the investigation they are involved in.

Feedback from victims who have been supported by the victim care unit include:

  • “Thank you so much for everything you have done, I have finally got hope that things will get better.”
  • “So happy with the help you’ve provided. I feel like I’m not alone.”
  • “I feel like someone is there on my side throughout it all.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ian Roberts said: “We know the devastating effect crime can have on victims emotionally and physically – no one should feel alone or unsupported.

“We want to ensure all victims of crime have access to specialist support. I am proud that our victim care officers have already made a difference to those most in need in our communities and will continue to do so.

“Supporting victims will always be at the centre of everything we do and we’re working hard to ensure all victims have greater confidence to report incidents to the police.”

PCC Jeff Cuthbert said: “Ensuring that victims of crime receive the very best services, care and support is a priority for me. That is why I have put supporting victims at the forefront of my new Police and Crime Plan.

“The new victim care unit is central to this. It means that victims benefit from regular contact with a victim care officer who works alongside the investigating police team to ensure that they are fully supported and kept up to date throughout the criminal justice process.

“By ensuring victims receive the right support, and by keeping them updated with their case, we can help to ensure that we are looking after their wellbeing in the long term.”

The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “It is essential that victims are kept up to date with the details of their case. By assigning them a dedicated care officer, Gwent Police are ensuring that victims are looked after for the duration of their criminal justice journey. This is a compelling example of police listening to victim feedback and making positive changes to victims’ services as a result.

“As Victims’ Commissioner, I know how crucial it is that victims and witnesses have trust and confidence in their local services. To this end, I have been encouraging all PCCs to appoint a local Victims’ Champion – a dedicated professional committed to deepening the understanding of victim needs and ensuring that the victim’s voice is heard in all local policymaking and decisions.”