Rutland victims of crime will have access to instant online support following launch of new website
Victims of crime across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will have access to "instant support" online following the launch of a new website.
Victim First - the organisation funded by Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach to deliver recovery services for victims and witnesses of crime across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland - has launched a new "one stop shop" for support, enabling victims to contact its specialist team at the click of a button.
The website, Victimfirst.org, includes a new "web chat" facility making it possible for victims to ask questions and receive information and advice in real time.
It is part of a series of improvements to the service, delivered by social business Catch22, designed to improve the effectiveness and speed at which victims can access vital help in the aftermath of their experiences.
Launching the website, Willy Bach said: "It takes considerable courage to step forward and seek help to recover from a painful experience. It is vital victims feel validated, supported and listened to when they do so that we can start to immediately heal the damage.
"This new website has been developed by victims of crime for victims of crime and I am very grateful for their contributions. Their ideas and suggestions have been instrumental to the project and will benefit victims of crime for many years to come.
"Raising awareness of the help available will be a top priority for me over the coming months. I hope victims past and present will soon understand that there are people out there who are specially trained to help them cope and confront the pain of the past and move forwards with hope and positivity."
The site was developed over the past four months in collaboration with victims of crime who have previously accessed Victim First services. As part of a stakeholder group, former service users were consulted on both the features and content of the site as well as the refreshed look to the Victim First brand.
Among the new features is a specialist home page for young victims of crime which was developed in collaboration with young people who have previously sought help from Victim First to ensure it is child-friendly and accessible.
Meanwhile, caseworkers will be on hand during operating hours to enable victims to find out key information that will support them in their journey.
The Victim First team hopes the website's user-friendly design will appeal to vulnerable victims who might not have previously felt comfortable accessing support.
In order to ensure that the site is accessible to those who are hearing impaired, the team worked with a qualified BSL interpreter to create a short video about how to access the service for the site. The team have also ensured information is available in a range of languages including: Kurdish, Punjabi, Gujarati, Romanian, Polish, Urdu, Hindi, Somali and Bengali.
Manjeeta Sunnar, Head of Service at Victim First, added: "The new website and webchat feature is designed in the hope to reach out to communities and make it as easy as possible for victims to come forward and get the support they are entitled to."