One year on | the victim care unit

28th July 2022

More than 48,000 victim referrals were received in the first year of Gwent Police’s victim care unit.

Launched in July last year, it is the main point of contact for victims, from the initial report of a crime to the conclusion of the criminal justice process.

The unit has received 48,461 victim referrals in its first 12 months, where specialist victim care officers work with other police officers to ensure victims receive regular updates on their investigation.

Victim care officers will work with partner agencies to help people receive enhances support when required, and this has led to the unit making 7,425 successful initial calls to victims and completing 6,191 detailed needs assessments.

Chief Constable Pam Kelly said: “Victims are at the heart of everything we do at Gwent Police.

“Crime can have a devastating impact and it is vital that victims receive the information and support they need to help cope and recover.

“One year on, feedback on the unit from those who use the service indicates to us that it has shown to have improved the support we’re providing to our communities.

“The successful delivery of our model has resulted in other police services looking to introduce similar schemes to help victims receive the best support in their areas.

“We know that when a victim is given the right support, it not only aids their recovery, but it can reduce repeat victimisation.

“When this is coupled with an effective investigation, it gives people more confidence in the criminal justice system to help bring offenders to justice.

“I would like to thank those victims of crime who assisted with the development of the victim care unit and those victims of crimes who have been referred since - your feedback has helped to make a difference to our communities.”

The victim care officers are also trained to assess the individual needs of a victim and can offer tailored support to them.

As part of their role, they are not only the single point of contact for the victim but will act as their advocate to ensure their rights are consistently met under the victims’ code of practice.

Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: “Becoming a victim of crime can have a devastating effect on someone’s life and it is critical that we get our response to victims right every time.

“The victim care unit is building on the trail-blazing work we have done here in Gwent as the first force to bring key victim support services together under one roof. It means that victims now benefit from regular contact with a dedicated victim care officer, ensuring that they are fully supported and kept up to date throughout the criminal justice process.

“Supporting victims of crime, and protecting the most vulnerable, is a priority for me and the new unit is enabling us to take a more compassionate and victim-centred approach to everything we do.”