CONTRACTS of support services for crime victims across Merseyside have been extended in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Crime commissioner Jane Kennedy moved to lengthen the agreement for 10 charities and social enterprises that were commissions as part of the victim Care Merseyside programme.
They provide specialist help for victims of crime, including victims of rape and sexual assault, young people who have been sexually or criminally exploited and victims of hate crime.
The contracts were due to end in March next year, but in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic and in light of local elections being postponed to May 2021, all the services are now commissioned to run until March 2022.
Jane Kennedy said: "Now the election has been postponed until May 2021, I did not want to leave these services in a state of anxiety.
"I was keen to move quickly to give them greater security and give victims the confidence that the services they rely upon will continue to be there to support them.
"By extending the lifetime of these contracts until March 2022, I hope I will give the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside plenty of time, following the election, to carefully review the existing services, carry out their own assessment of what is needed, particularly given the changing nature of crime, and decide upon the services they wish to deliver in the future.”
The extended Victim Care Merseyside services, which will now run until March 2022, include:
- Dedicated aftercare support service for survivors of rape and sexual assault jointly delivered by RASA Merseyside and Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside
- Vulnerable Victims’ Champion service for vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour delivered by Victim Support
- Specialist support service for victims of child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation provided by Catch 22
- Tailored hate crime support service jointly delivered by the Anthony Walker Foundation, Citizens' Advice Liverpool, and Daisy Inclusive UK to provide specialist support according to strand, as well as a third party hate crime reporting service provided by Stop Hate UK
- Support for victims of harmful practices (including FGM, forced marriage and so-called 'honour-based' violence) provided by Savera UK
- 'The Hub’ advice centre to provide support for families who have lost a loved one to homicide, including crime-related road traffic collisions delivered by Families Fighting for Justice.
Jane Kennedy added: "This is a challenging time, but I want to reassure people that if you are a victim of a crime you are not alone. The Victim Care Merseyside services are still open and on hand to support you.
"If you or someone you know has been a victim, you can find a wealth of free information and advice on the Victim Care Merseyside website.
"On this website, you can also find a directory of services who are on hand to offer further guidance and support.
"You can search these organisations by the type of crime you have experienced or by geographical area, so you can find the very best placed service to help you cope and recover from your experience."
If you need help or support after a crime, visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org