New Hub to Help Victims and Witnesses of Crime (4 Dec 2015)

GroupA new centre dedicated to supporting victims and witnesses officially opened its doors on 3rd December in Wakefield City Centre.

The new facility has been made possible by funding from West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, and, managed by Victim Support, will provide a place for victims and witnesses to get the information and advice they need.

On Wednesday (18 November) the Police and Crime Commissioner joined partners to have a look at the new facilities before they officially opened.

The centre is located on Wood Street in the middle of Wakefield City Centre, within walking distance of the bus and train stations, and aims to be a one stop shop for supporting victims and witnesses of crime and anti-social behaviour. There is already a Victims Hub open in Leeds.

The new hub houses the Wakefield and Kirklees Victim Support community team and has bookable meeting rooms for one to ones and larger meetings; a dedicated 101 telephone line for members of the public to report crime or get updates on ongoing cases; access to computers for Criminal Injuries Claim applications and the Help for Victims website There is also a large reception area with room for other support agencies and organisations.

The centre, which used to be a Wakefield District Housing building, needed various modifications to make it fit for its new purpose. Volunteers from Interserve helped get the centre ready in time for the opening, getting involved in the refit and decoration.

Mark Burns-Williamson said "Help for victims comes first.

"I have made five promises within my Police and Crime Plan to victims and witnesses including ensuring they get the high quality support and help they need, when they need it, in the way they need it from the right agency.

"This new hub fits that criteria perfectly and I am delighted that it will soon be open to the public providing invaluable support to victims and witnesses

Diane Pae, Operations Manager for independent charity Victim Support in Wakefield, said:
"Falling victim to crime can be a horrific experience - and not knowing where to go or who to turn to for help only adds to the trauma.
"We are delighted that the new Victim's Hub in Wakefield will give victims easy access to a convenient, one stop shop where they can get the help that is so vital after falling victim to a crime.
"Anyone affected by crime can access free and confidential emotional and practical support and information by dropping into the Hub to speak to one of Victim Support's specially trained staff or volunteers, contacting our local team on 0300 3031971 or self-referring on our website"

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities, said: "Crime has a huge impact on those affected and we are continuing to work with our partners to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour across the district.

"This new centre will provide vital support to local residents to help keep our communities safe. By working closely together we can ensure that the right support is provided, quickly and efficiently. This will make sure that people can access the help and support they need at a time when it is needed the most."  

Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We welcome the opening of this new facility which supports our commitment to ensuring that victims and witnesses are put at the heart of everything we do. Being a victim or witness to a crime can be an extremely distressing experience and it is vital that people are supported from the point of report, throughout the judicial process, and beyond if required.
"This new hub will give victims and witnesses access to both emotional and practical support in one easily accessible venue. It also offers a dedicated 101 non-emergency telephone line which I hope members of the public will utilise to report incidents and check for updates on previously reported crimes."

Giles Blessed, Interserve account director added: "Our local teams were keen to get involved and renovate the hub knowing it will help support our community when they need it most."

Other support agencies are being encouraged to use the facility to enable victims and witnesses to experience all round support, interested parties should contact the hub.

If you would like to know more about the Victims Hub in Wakefield email [email protected] or call 01924 614440. Or you can visit the centre in person.

Mark Burns -Williamson And Diane Pae
Mark Burns-Williamson with Operations Manager Victim Support, Diane Pae.


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