How are we responding to the changed times and still meeting victims’ needs?

At a time when many people are feeling more isolated than ever, especially if they aren’t part of the Zoom or Houseparty surge in virtual meetings, we know that this isolation will impact on lives. This is especially true when it comes to victims of  crime. As highlighted in a previous blog internet scammers are already doing their worst, domestic abuse is on the increase and there are reports of increases in both distraction burglary and commercial burglary – which can often be seen as a “victimless crime”. 

Evidence shows us that family and social support play a huge part in helping people cope and recover after crime. With increased social isolation during lockdown and with all the additional worries people may be experiencing it seems highly likely that victims of crime will be even more reliant than before on the help offered by victim support services. These services are essential at any time; how much more so now?

So, as we said,  it’s crucial we don’t forget the need to look out for people who may not fit readily into one of the current “priority” groups, the elderly and infirm. Especially, when we can see the sad reality that there will be people trying to take advantage of this current crisis, we need to think about how best to support and reassure those who may well fall victim to criminal activity – it hasn’t gone away and nor has the need for support. We especially need to think of those who may have existing issues which adversely affect their lives: hearing or sight problems, learning disabilities, social and economic exclusion.

From our online survey which we began this week we know that many organisations that offer support to victims have had to radically adapt their services to fit this new world in which we have to operate. No longer are face to face meetings possible for example, something that many victims have relied on for support in the past. And the responses of organisations in trying to find creative and effective ways of working is encouraging and a real manifestation of how committed they are to doing their best and making sure victims get what they need.

We at Supporting Justice have been committed to helping partners deliver the best possible outcomes for those whom they support. That’s why we developed our Quality Mark assessment based on five key standards. But that too needs to be adapted to reflect changed circumstances. That is why we have written to all police and crime commissioners offering to help with an adapted, remotely delivered assessment, a diagnostic tool, that can be used to look at how service providers have had to change what they do and are still able to deliver the outcomes they want to  and that victims need.

If you read this and are involved in either commissioning services to victims or delivering them do please get in touch and let us know if you think we can help.

We would also ask you to complete our online survey to help us continue to build up an accurate picture of how you, and victims are doing and how we might learn from this current crisis.