Victim Support is to continue delivering support services for victims of crime in Gloucestershire, after winning back a contract tendered by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).

The charity had already been providing emotional and practical help to victims in the county since 2015 when Police and Crime Commissioners were made responsible for commissioning victim services for their force areas.

In 2018/19 alone, the local team had contact with 10,131 victims of crime and antisocial behaviour, helped 6,837 people with various issues including burglary, fraud, assault and harassment, and gave long-term support to a 2,190 people needing help to cope and recover from the effects of crime.

Ahead of its renewal this April, the contract was put up for grabs again and Victim Support beat off strong competition to win it back.

New enhancements to the service are part of its immediate plans. For the first time in the county, separate age-appropriate services will be offered to both young people and adults. Victims will also have access to a new 24-hour live-chat facility.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said: ‘Victims of crime are at the heart of everything we do. Victim Support demonstrated its passion and ability to provide the best possible service to those unfortunate enough to become victims of crime or personal antisocial behaviour.

“Its bid to my office was of a very high standard and I feel confident the team will continue to deliver a high quality service.”

Victim Support Contract Manager Wayne Stevens said: “Retaining the contract is a huge endorsement by the OPCC of what the Gloucestershire Victim Support team has been doing over the previous five years, and of our plans for the next five.

“We’ll be launching a website in April as part of the gateway to our new young people’s services. A group of young Gloucestershire people are currently helping us to design it, so that it’s engaging, interesting and informative.

“We’re also launching our live-chat service for both adults and young people affected by crime and antisocial behaviour. It’ll offer 24/7 access through a secure, online platform. Victims will be able to have real-time communication with a trained supporter to discuss their needs, receive immediate advice and support, and seek referral for ongoing support. It can be done anonymously or by providing minimal personal data such as age, gender and location which would appeal particularly to young victims who may be tentative about seeking support or who’re unsure of the services we can provide.”

The contract runs from 1 April 2020 and there is a maximum budget of £480,000 (£120,000 for young people and £360,000 for adults) available per annum over FIVE years with the option to extend for up to TWO years.

Victim Support helps victims of all crime (except sexual violence, domestic violence, homicide, drugs and alcohol and road traffic accidents which are supported separately) and people affected by personal antisocial behaviour.