New Victims Champion for Gwent Announced
Johanna Robinson has been appointed as the new Coordinator for the Connect Gwent victim's hub - the first ever multi-agency service of its kind in Wales which provides positive and lasting support to victims of crime, helping them to cope and recover.
Based in Blackwood, the Connect Gwent hub was launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Ian Johnston, in May 2015. The service has brought together a range of agencies and organisations under one roof to provide enhanced support for victims of crime.
Johanna's role is designed to ensure victims are supported inside and outside the criminal justice process and that they receive the support, information and guidance they need to cope with their victimisation and recover from it.
Johanna has more than 20 years of experience working in support services for vulnerable people. After graduating from University in 1995 she worked as a Support Worker for adults with learning disabilities. From 1997 she worked in refugee camps in Thailand, teaching English, Social Studies and providing support to refugees from Burma. She eventually established a charity in Thailand to support the refugees, enabling them to access further education. She also developed a specific training course for young refugee women. Johanna returned to the UK in 2004 to work for a London- based charity which helped homeless and vulnerable people to find homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives.
After moving back to Cardiff, Johanna worked with the South Riverside Community Development Centre charity from 2007, supporting women from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities by providing them with training and education opportunities. She also worked with Safer Wales as a Support Worker for young street-based sex workers in Cardiff. In 2009 she secured a role as a Victims Worker with the Youth Offending Service where she successfully enhanced the victim engagement rate and eventually led the team at Media Academy Cardiff where she won an award for her youth engagement activities. Prior to joining Connect Gwent, Johanna worked as a National Development Manager with the Survivors Trust, providing support and advice to victims of sexual violence.
Since the launch of Connect Gwent last year, referral rates of victims of crime have increased by over 40%. Between April 1st 2015 and March 31st 2016, Connect Gwent received 27,072 referrals compared to 15,377 referrals to Victim Support in the previous year before Connect Gwent was formed. The increase in referrals means that more victims are accessing appropriate services and this is reflected in the significant increase in the levels of satisfaction amongst victims of crime in the service they receive.
Excited about her new role, Johanna Robinson said: "I want to make a positive difference to the lives of victims of crime in Gwent. My job is to make sure that the hub runs smoothly, provides a quality service to all victims of crime and fully complies with the victims' code of practice. We want to provide a service that victims truly want and need and to ensure that their needs are met in the way they want them to be at a time of their choosing."
Welcoming Johanna's appointment, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "I would like to congratulate Johanna on securing this vitally important role and wish her all the best in driving forward this essential service for people who are often at their most vulnerable. Before the election in 2012, I made a commitment to put victims of crime at the heart of everything we do. I have delivered on that promise and when I reflect on my time in office, I will look back at the establishment of Connect Gwent as one of my proudest achievements. It is essential that we continue to improve victim satisfaction and the quality of victim contact in Gwent and Johanna will play a leading role in providing a better outcome for all victims of crime in the Force area."
Gwent Police Assistant Chief Constable, Julian Williams, said: "I would like to congratulate Johanna on her new role and welcome her, on behalf of the Force, to Connect Gwent. The work of Connect Gwent to support and offer guidance to victims of crime is invaluable. The help available can make a really positive and lasting difference to people at a time when they need it most. I look forward to working with Johanna to ensure that we continue to provide a victim-focussed service with the best level of support possible."
For further information about Connect Gwent, please visit www.connectgwent.org.uk