Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab chose a visit to Hertfordshire’s Beacon victim services team to launch a range of new measures to help support victims across the country.
The Secretary of State for Justice was welcomed to the Safeguarding Hub at the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU Hatfield Police Station on Wednesday 23 March in recognition of their pioneering work.
Set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd, the Hub is part of Beacon, which is run by the Constabulary and victim case managers from service provider Catch22.
During the visit he discussed the success of the individually tailored victim-centre approach used in Hertfordshire and also tried the new Herts Beacon Assist app for victims of crime.
Kevin McGetrick, Head of Victims Services and Commissioning at the Herts OPCC said: ‘It was a really an honour the Secretary of State chose Beacon Safeguarding Hub to announce these important initiatives which should enhance the way victims are supported through the Criminal Justice System.
‘Mr Raab saw first-hand and commented on the professional and accomplished service we have developed here in Hertfordshire and which is recognised as spearheading the way in which victim services are delivered.
‘Importantly, his announcement means we can confidently build on our growing and developing service to ensure the best possible support for victims.’
His visit was used to launch a range of initiatives which attracted national press attention. They include a £440 million package for victim support services in England and Wales, the trial of pre-recorded evidence to be rolled out to Crown Courts across the North East and local criminal justice scorecards being published for the first time.
The funding will enable a move to a long-term model – with at least £147 million per year up to 2025 to allow charities and service providers to plan for the future, build capacity and strengthen their resilience to help even more victims. It comes as Police and Crime Commissioners report that the number of victims accessing support increased by 15% between 2019/20 and 2020/21.
The money will fund emotional, practical and therapeutic support for victims of crime such as women and girls affected by domestic abuse. This includes helping fund more specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs). The investment will provide greater consistency for people accessing these services and ensure help is always there when needed.
In January this year Mr Lloyd announced that a multi-million pound contract to care for victims of crime had been agreed by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.
The £2.8m four-year contract, to begin next month, ensures those who live in the county will continue to benefit from one of the UK’s most comprehensive schemes run through the Hertfordshire Beacon Victim Care Centre.
Independent case managers can provide emotional and practical support to victims of crime, even if they have not reported the offence to the police.