Establish a repeat Victims Champion who will work with difficult cases
A small number of victims of crime are repeatedly targeted, causing huge amounts of psychological stress for these individuals.
In setting this commitment, the PCC acknowledged Dorset Police had made significant improvements in identifying repeat victims of crime and implementing measures to escalate interventions where a victim continued to be targeted.
However, in line with the wider pledge to keep Dorset as one of the safest places in the UK, the PCC pledged to appoint a Victims Champion to further improve the response for repeat victims and co-ordinate the police and partner response to more complex cases, making sure this approach is consistent.
In early 2017, the PCC announced a new Victims’ Champion for Dorset on an initial 12 month basis. The role was designed to ensure victims were provided with the support and information they needed to navigate the criminal justice system. It also played a significant co-ordination role in implementing the Victim Code of Practice and monitoring compliance.
The Victims Champion worked closely with the Victims Bureau, which the PCC had implemented during his first term of office, Victim Support – the support service contracted by the PCC for Dorset – and the Witness Care Unit.
The champion also worked with external service providers to make improvements and deliver greater consistency to the support offered to victims and witnesses of crime. The decision was subsequently taken to extend the role for a further 12 months into early 2019 to continue the progress made, particularly with regard to implementing Victims’ Code measures.
The ongoing impact of austerity and funding pressures meant the role could not be extended further beyond the initial two years. However, the Victims’ Bureau structure has since been revised to enable the organisation’s manager to take up the Victims Champion portfolio as part of their role. This arrangement will be kept under review during the remainder of the term to ensure it is fit for purpose.
More recently, in the summer of 2019, the PCC has also taken on the Chair of the Victims and Witnesses Sub-Group of the Dorset Criminal Justice Board. This has given him a direct influence over the co-ordination of victim support services and monitoring the application of the Victims Code locally.