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New support service for victims of crime in Cambridgeshire receives nearly 300 referrals in first six months

A new service launched by Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston to support the mental health needs of victims and witnesses of crime has received more than 290 referrals in its first six months.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough PCC awarded a three-year contract to mental health charity Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) to provide mental health and wellbeing support to help victims cope in the aftermath of crime.

The new service, which launched in April, fulfils the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan priority to support victims and witnesses of crime and provide the highest standards of care to maintain their confidence in the criminal justice system.

Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston pictured in Wisbech.
Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston pictured in Wisbech.

Latest data shows in the six months up to the end of September, CPSL Mind reached out to 278 victims and witnesses who had been referred to the service. During this period, its support facilitators actively supported 183 victims and witnesses.

Responding to the service’s progress, Darryl said: “Since launching six months ago, CPSL Mind has provided direct support to a significant number of victims and witnesses. The charity has also shared learning with Hub staff to help update their skills. This clearly demonstrates the demand for trauma-informed support to help victims’ cope with their experiences of crime and rebuild their resilience.

“Victims and witnesses of crime often have complex needs and symptoms that are not always easily identifiable to their loved ones. Without professional support, these difficulties can spiral into crisis and have a lasting and detrimental impact on people’s lives.

“Making sure victims and witnesses have access to high-quality help early will reduce their risk of future harm and help to reduce demand on the police and other emergency services in the future. I am proud of the early success of this service, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the CPSL Mind team.”

The service sees well-being practitioners providing short-term support to victims and witnesses who have been affected by crime. It includes advice and guidance around issues such as anxiety, sleeping, and stress.

Adult victims or witnesses of crime who live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can be referred to the service by a professional. Once referred, they will receive trauma-informed support and self-help resources in a way that best meets their needs, keeps them safe, and empowers them to make their own decisions.

Hannah Turner, Head of Services for Mental Health Charity CPSL Mind, said: “We provide an individualised service that is very much driven by the victim or witness themselves and their needs and how we can assist them – it is not possible to apply a one-size-fits-all all approach.

“People respond differently to crime regardless of the type or severity. We focus on the normalisation of their experiences and help to explain that the symptoms they are feeling are an ordinary response to trauma. This is important as a lot of people feel like they are losing control.”

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