Victim Pathways, Experiences and Expectations
This research into the experience of victims of crime was commissioned in 2014, to gather information on the Ministry of Justice’s ‘cope and recover’ model. It was designed to gain an insight into the expectations of victims of crime, and make recommendations to improve practice in this area. The report was published in February 2015.
The research was carried out by Restorative Solutions CIC in partnership with SSC, and funded by the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Lankelly Chase Foundation through the ‘Cornwall Promoting Change Project’ led by the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum.
The project was broken into three phases:
Phase One comprised desk research into the different victim types, and the developing of eight profiles of ‘typical’ victims of crime, in the way that mythical typical customers are used to model scenarios in the consumer industry. These led to a series of questions being drawn up, covering these areas:
- Recognition – you are a ‘victim’
- Contact – seeking help and support
- Information and guidance – when and how
- Cope and Recovery – did it work
Following this, the SSC network of support providers were approached to request contact with victims of crime who would be prepared to be part of focus groups. A total of 16 people were eventually able to be part of these, covering a wide variety of experiences and crimes, as well as demographic groups, timeframes, and other circumstances.
Phase two involved running two focus groups, plus two individual interviews with these 16 victims of crime. They were supported before, during and after the groups, to ensure that they were fully informed, and their needs were met.
In Phase three the results of the focus groups were collated and analysed, and recommendations drawn up.
Results and recommendations
Recognition as a Victim and Seeking Help and Support
- Recommendation 1: Help and support be offered to victims of crime within 48 hours of the incident occurring
- Recommendation 2: A single point of contact be appointed to each victim to discuss and facilitate the help and support they need and provide information and updates throughout the criminal case
- Recommendation 3: Ensure up to date information on how to access services is provided in a broad range of formats and not just internet based
- Recommendation 4: The impact of closing several smaller police stations be fed back to the Police
- Recommendation 5: The need for face to face counselling for a 6 month period be fed back to GPs
- Recommendation 6: Mental health training be provided to staff dealing with victims in all organisations
Information and Guidance
- Recommendation 7: Support organisations clearly advertise what services they offer in public spaces such as GP surgeries
- Recommendation 8: A ‘one stop shop’ for victims be developed in a physical building in Cornwall
- Recommendation 9: The issue of contacting victims from an undisclosed number be fed back to organisations
- Recommendation 10: The information in leaflets be explained clearly to victims
- Recommendation 11: The police to ensure all victims of crime receive the Victims Code of Practice leaflet
- Recommendation 12: The feedback on the use of volunteers be noted by organisations
Cope and Recovery
- Recommendation 13: A victim peer mentoring scheme be developed offering victims of crime a ‘buddy’ to help support them cope and recover
- Recommendation 14: A victims self-help group be set up for victims of similar crimes
- Recommendation 15: Online victims forum be established
- Recommendation 16: The feedback from the participants be provided to the Police
- Recommendation 17: A Victims’ Panel is set up to consult with regarding proposals and developments
Despite only a small number of participants, the recommendations are important, and representative. While it may not be feasible to act on all of the recommendations, the presentation of the complete list must be presented, to begin a dialogue on improving provision, while involving victims in the planning of future services.