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Support available for victims of crime in Surrey during lockdown

3 minute read
Support available for victims of crime in Surrey during lockdown

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 7:55am 6th May 2020.

Victims of crime in Surrey are being reminded they are not alone during lockdown. 

Due to social distancing caseworkers and volunteers at the Guildford-based Victim and Witness Care Unit are offering support over the phone and using video calls.

The unit, which was set up in April 2019 by Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner, is designed to support victims to cope and recover from the impact of crime, directly after the incident, through court proceedings and after.

The Victim and Witness Care Unit has extended opening hours on Monday and Thursday evenings, to 9pm.

The team of almost 30 staff and 12 volunteers now have more opportunities to support victims including survivors of domestic abuse and those who are fall prey to fraudsters.

Two specialist caseworkers have been employed to respond to a 20% national increase in reported fraud.

Once trained, the caseworkers will support those victims of fraud who are particularly vulnerable and at risk.

Rachel Roberts, Head of the VWCU, said the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on victims:

"As well as on the services available to provide support. It is important that anyone affected by crime knows we are still here for them, and we have extended our provision to help even more individuals during this time of increased anxiety, and increased risk for many.

“From a personal point of view, I can’t thank the team enough for the work they do on a daily basis, including our volunteers who are making an enormous contribution during a difficult time.”

Damian Markland, OPCC Policy and Commissioning Lead for Victim Services, said coronavirus has presented challenges to the unit :

“Victims and the witnesses of crime deserve our absolute attention at all times.

"The work of the unit is especially challenging and important as the impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt in the criminal justice system, and by other organisations that offer help.

“Overcoming these challenges to provide ongoing support is essential to help victims cope and recover from their experiences, but also to maintain their confidence in Surrey Police.”

All victims of crime in Surrey are automatically referred to the Victim and Witness Care Unit at the point a crime is reported but you can also self refer. 

You can contact the Victim and Witness Care Unit on 01483 639949, or online.

Anyone affected by, or worried about someone who may be affected by domestic abuse is encouraged to contact the Surrey Domestic Abuse Helpline provided by your Sanctuary, on 01483 776822 (9am - 9pm),

Always call 999 in an emergency.