It can be as damaging and debilitating as many other crimes sometimes deemed more serious. Now, for the first time, a service created to support victims of crime is being broadened to include those who suffer personally as a result of anti-social behaviour as well.
This new, enhanced service came into effect on 1 April and was initiated by Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl. It will be delivered by Victim Support which has over 40 years’ experience of working with victims of crime.
Mr. Surl said,
“The Ministry of Justice tasked every Police and Crime Commissioner in the country to come up with a new victim service provider for their county and I wanted something more than we had before.
“In some cases, anti-social behaviour can be more devastating than crime. I wanted a service that recognised the harm caused by anti-social behaviour and was able to support people who suffered as a result because this hasn’t always been the case in the past.
“I am delighted that Victim Support has been successful in the commissioning process as they bring a great deal of experience in supporting victims of crime in Gloucestershire.”
Last year around 25,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) were reported to the police, of which almost half were categorised as personal e.g. playing loud music, verbal abuse, nuisance telephone calls.
Victim Support will work in partnership with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) with the aim of delivering a professional service and making the experience of victims of crime less of an ordeal by providing the right level of support.
Wayne Stevens, Gloucestershire Victim Support Contract Manager said,
“Victim Support is delighted to start this new three-year partnership with the Gloucestershire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Gloucestershire Police, to deliver much-needed support for people affected by crime.
“Our services are free and confidential, and are available to all people in Gloucestershire. We offer practical and emotional support to victims, to enable them to cope with the immediate aftermath of crime and to ensure their recovery in the longer term.
“We can help with most types of crime, including burglary and theft, assault, fraud, harassment and hate crimes, and for those crime types we don’t support, such as domestic and sexual abuse, we work closely with other specialist local organisations to make sure people get the right sort of help they need, when they need it most.”