20. My Commitments as PCC (To commission needs-led victim services part 1)
Commission services for victims that are needs-led
It is my responsibility to commission support services for victims of crime across the county, whether they report to the police or not. I am committed to providing services that are needs-led so victims and witnesses are treated as individuals, and services are tailored accordingly.
I also have a dedicated Victims hub in Ashford - Compass House - which houses a number of services enabling closer working and a more joined up approach to delivering services to victims.
My 2022/23 commissioning budget consisted of a core grant of £2.3m from the MoJ to deliver services to support victims. The Government made further funding available for victim services and the OPCC was successful in securing an additional £1.7m.
1.1 Victims Specialist Services (VSS)
I set aside £213,940 to fund organisations that provide specialist support to victims of crime, these ranged from trauma counselling to therapeutic support for families. These services were complementary to other victim services that I funded and ensured enhanced support was available for specific groups or those with a specialist need.
The organisations funded were:
Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) (£22,200) - 1 to 1 advocacy and peer support for those bereaved by suicide or unexplained death linked to DA and Domestic Homicide Reviews.
Choices Support (£34,398) - Jigsaw Hate Crime Project, provided intensive support to victims with learning disability, mental health and autism.
Dads Unlimited (£35,000) - 1 to 1 Mentoring Service, supported men to rebuild their lives following domestic / emotional / financial abuse.
Dandelion Time (£35,000) - A therapeutic service for children and families affected by DA and sexual abuse (SA).
DA Volunteer Support Services (DAVSS) (£25,000) - Support to Court Project, supported DA victims through civil and criminal court processes.
East Kent Rape Crisis Centre (EKRCC) (£30,200) - 1 to 1 therapy and family counselling for victims of SA.
Rubicon Cares (£32,142) - 1 to 1 trauma counselling for victims of crime.
a) AAFDA supported 6 families impacted by domestic homicide, all of whom reported being better able to cope and build resilience moving forwards with daily life.
b) Choices Support supported 30 individuals, with two feeling able to report the crime to police after receiving support. 100% reported improved health and wellbeing and better able to cope with aspects of everyday life.
c) Dads Unlimited received 138 new referrals, with 63 engaged with other support services, 5 feeling able to report the crime to police after receiving support and 45 reporting they were better able to cope and build resilience moving forwards with daily life. Also saw increased complexity of cases, including high levels of suicide ideation.
d) Dandelion Time supported 32 children and their families, with 28 reporting they were better able to cope and build resilience moving forwards with daily life.
e) DAVSS received 429 referrals, with 173 referred to other support services following the identification of additional needs. The service provided support with legal advice including obtaining non molestation orders, prohibitive steps orders and child arrangement orders, pro bono solicitor appointments and provision of Mackenzie friends.
f) EKRCC received 100 referrals, with 98 clients reporting they were better able to cope and build resilience moving forwards with daily life.
g) Rubicon Cares received 41 referrals, with 15 referred to other support services following the identification of additional needs.
1.2 DA / SV Ringfenced Funding
In March 2022, the MoJ announced an additional £15.7m funding for PCCs nationally to provide tailored support to female and male victims who had experienced DA, rape, or SA at any point in their life. The funding was for both adults and C&YP.
My team submitted a detailed Needs Assessment setting out the demand for services and were successful in securing £664,540.39 per annum for three years (2022/23 to 2024/25).
The organisations and projects funded are:
Dad’s Unlimited (£96,512) - 1 x Mentor, 1 x Court Support Worker and 1 x DA Caseworker to support men rebuild their lives following DA.
Daisy Chain (£45,000) - Pro-bono legal advice for DA and SA victims not eligible for legal aid.
Dandelion Time (£31,841) - 1 x Caseworker to support delivery of the family support programme for children and families affected by DA and SA.
DAVSS (£24,922) - 2 x Support Workers to provide advocacy and legal support to DA victims in West Kent.
Family Matters (£28,460) - 1 x Therapist to support SA victims and reduce waiting times.
Health Action (£27,282) - Support for African males suffering DA in North Kent.
Innovating Minds (£40,000) - Delivery of the Healing Together Programme in schools to support C&YP impacted by DA.
Kent Integrated DA Service (KIDAS) (£49,000) - 2 x Outreach Workers to increase capacity within the countywide DA service.
Mary Dolly Foundation (£31,830) - Online therapeutic support for DA and SA victims, both C&YP and adults.
Restorative Solutions (£45,000) – Adolescent to Parent Violence Conflict (APVC) Service across Kent.
Rising Sun (£63,683) - 1 x C&YP Trauma Informed Worker and 1 x Young Women’s Trauma Informed Mentor to support those impacted by DA.
Rubicon Cares (£40,360) - Increased DA and SV 1:1 trauma counselling capacity.
Salus (£34,240) - Provision of earlier intervention for C&YP impacted by DA within safe settings through a 1 x C&YP Support Officer.
SATEDA (£55,797) - Increased capacity in Support to Court, Therapeutic Support and Outreach Services.
The Bloomers Trust (£8,800) - Provision of vital needs for DA victims on low incomes or in financial difficulties not fully covered by emergency grants.
Victim Support (£41,810) - Increased capacity within Stalking Advocacy Service through 1 x Stalking Officer and provision of Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC) training.
Case study 1 - ‘My child and myself were victims of DA and my child was really struggling with their confidence as well as depression and anger issues. The way Dandelion Time deals with childhood trauma via outdoor activities brings a sense of peace and allows children’s confidence to shine through. They focus solely on the benefits that the activities bring to the child without talking about the trauma. This place saved my child, saved my family, and ultimately restored happiness in our lives and for that I will be eternally grateful.’
Case study 2 - B had witnessed violence and abuse and arrived at Dandelion Time with their adoptive parent. Guided by the therapists, the family began to build a connection, gradually working to bring down the barriers. At the end of their support B had taken huge steps forward, was more engaged at home and school and began to trust those around them. The relationship with the parent had strengthened and B now provides hugs for the first time.
Across all the services funded, 6,464 victims of DA and SV were referred, with 5,537 supported. Of those, 3,780 reported to the police prior to engagement and 262 felt able to report during or following engagement with the service.