£500,000 awarded to support victims of crime
A community project which raises awareness of hate crime against victims with learning difficulties and autism is benefitting from a funding boost worth almost £50,000.
Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has awarded more than £500,000 to 13 organisations which provide specialist support to victims of crimes in Kent. One of those groups, mcch, is receiving £48,170 to help fund its Jigsaw project.
David Hall, interim Chief Executive at mcch, said:
‘mcch’s Jigsaw project is delighted to be awarded a grant from the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner. We will be making more people aware of disability hate crimes through training, improved reporting of crimes and better understanding of how to support victims. Our work can continue to help people across Kent and will now expand our work with schools, providing support to pupils and helping education providers to become crime reporting hubs.’
Mr Scott visited mcch at its offices in Maidstone on 30 March during World Autism Awareness Week.
‘In my new plan, Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, I make a cast iron commitment to support all victims of crime and abuse. I’ve also made mental health one of the guiding principles behind the plan so I’m delighted to be here today to meet with the Jigsaw project team and hear about the work they’ve been doing.
‘People with mental health issues are reportedly three times more likely to be a victim of crime and, when they are, they may find the criminal justice process scary or confusing. The work that goes on here to raise awareness of disability hate crime and to help those who have been victims is something I’m really passionate about.’
During his visit Mr Scott spoke with Louise, a victim of hate crime who has been talking about her experiences through the Jigsaw project.
‘I’ve dealt with the police for many years and doing this project has helped me to understand their job and the importance of working together to help victims. Talking to groups about my personal experiences of hate crime has really improved my confidence and hopefully helps people to understand more about autism and learning disabilities.’
Other organisations benefitting from a share of the Victim Specialist Services Fund include Rubicon Cares, Juvenile Justice International and Dandelion Time. All provide trauma counselling and/or therapeutic services to vulnerable victims of abuse. A list of all 13 recipients can be viewed here.
Mr Scott added:
‘The charity Victim Support does fantastic work in Kent offering support to people who have been affected by crime but the Victim Specialist Services Fund goes even further. The money I’ve awarded to these 13 groups will ensure that all victims of crime in Kent, including those with particularly complex needs, get access to the help and support they need.
‘I had earmarked £500,000 for the Victim Specialist Services Fund in 2017/18 but my office was overwhelmed with bids worth almost £1million so we had some hard decisions to make to ensure taxpayers’ money went to where it would be most effective. I’m pleased to have been able to identify further funding from within my office budget to support even more victims.
‘This money will make a real difference to the lives of victims of crime.’
Bids to Mr Scott’s Safer in Kent Fund and his Mental Health and Policing Fund, with £300,000 to be awarded, are still being accepted. The closing date is 30 May.