The Signpost Hub was launched in April last year to enhance the emotional and practical support and access to restorative justice for all victims of crime.
During the celebration event on Tuesday, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kathryn Holloway announced extra funding for new mental health nurses and domestic violence advisors in the Signpost Hub. This takes funding for the vital service from £492,375, to £554,736 this financial year.
Domestic violence advisors will work from within Signpost and out in the field with victims, one of whom will be a co-ordinator for the new Family Drug and Alcohol Courts being established in Luton, to work on a rehabilitation plan with parents with drug and alcohol issues in care proceedings, to help them break free of addiction and keep families together.
Two new mental health nurses will work in Signpost and also support Bedfordshire Police’s Force Contact Centre in cases of people experiencing a mental health crisis. Part of their job will be to liaise with hospitals to drive down the loss of valuable police time taken to hand over care of these patients, which currently takes response officers away from dealing with other 999 emergencies and is a vital loss of resources.
Partner agencies including the Prince’s Trust, Anne Frank Trust and Mary Seacole Housing Association, joined Commissioner Holloway, the Signpost team and Superintendent Liz Mead for the first anniversary celebrations.
Commissioner Holloway said: “I promised I would transform services for those affected by crime in the county and this has been delivered. When Signpost launched, we were aiming to reach at least 9,000 residents a year who had been impacted by crime, to offer additional support. Signpost has exceeded this with 20,965 victims of crime being offered support, where virtually every client helped has given a clear vote of confidence in the service.
"The feedback has been extraordinary, reflecting the absolute commitment of the Victim Care Co-ordinators (VCCs) to spread the word about what is still a very new service to potential users. Figures show 98 per cent of victims say they’ve been satisfied or very satisfied with the service, 94 per cent tell us they got the information and wider support that they needed and 93 per cent said they feel Signpost had helped them to cope with the impact the crime had on their confidence. I’m thrilled with these results.”
Signpost provides a one-stop shop offering access to available help, support, advice and guidance, with referrals to a wide range of specialist support organisations. As the impact of crime isn’t just emotional VCCs also help victims deal with practical problems such as damage to property, by liaising with partner agencies on the victim’s behalf to help access support for these issues, as well as help accessing criminal injuries compensation, or understand the journey through the criminal justice system.
Kimberley Lamb, Head of Victim Services and Early Intervention Lead at the Signpost Hub, said: “I am really proud of the first class support and care we’ve given victims during our first successful year in helping them cope and deal with the impact of crime. We aim to see this level of support continue next year, especially as we begin to work even closer with partner agencies in encouraging victims to come forward, whether they have reported the crime to the police or not. It should also be noted although we are funded by the PCC our VCCs are not police officers, we offer a confidential and impartial service.”
Superintendent Liz Mead added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Signpost Hub, it’s so reassuring to know our victims get the swift support they need to help them recover from the trauma of crime. Those qualifying for support don’t even have to have been the direct victim of a crime themselves, as witnesses, children, parents, partners and colleagues can all be deeply impacted by a crime.”
If you have been affected by crime the Signpost Hub offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether it has been reported to police or not and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Contact 0800 0282887 or visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information.