A new interactive resource has been created alongside existing innovative resource booklets to further support vulnerable victims of crime.

Innovative resource booklets were developed by the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (ODPCVC) last year alongside Susan Stewart, a Speech and Language Therapist and local intermediary.

The booklets are an indispensable resource to support those individuals who require an intermediary but have also been widely used by other services such as the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS), as a useful tool to support victims and witnesses.

Last month a further document was added online to show the remote live link; completing the resources help vulnerable witnesses know what to expect at local court facilities. The resources are available on Intermediaries for Justice’s (IfJ) website.

The resources available include a practical suite of visuals to gain a detailed victim personal statement (VPS) and are suitable for both those victims with and those victims without communication difficulties.

These visuals explain what a VPS is, focus on the aspects of life that may have changed for them and help to plan both what they wish to include and how they want their VPS presented to the court.

Additional court resources contain photographs of all the local courts. These show the journey a victim or witness has from outside the court building to giving their evidence inside

Registered Intermediaries ensure vulnerable witnesses understand the role of the police, judge, and barristers and that they in turn understand the vulnerable witness.

As a result of COVID restrictions many victims and witnesses are experiencing long delays in the time it takes for their case to go before the court for trial or sentence.

The Local Criminal Justice Agencies are working hard to manage this situation and the ODPCVC wants to reassure victims that the support services which have remained in place since the start of the pandemic continue to do so.

This includes the victim referral service commissioned through VCAS, who offer care and support to victims of crime across Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington, as well as specialist services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Susan Stewart, Speech and Language Therapist, Registered Intermediary and author said, “These resources were created with valuable input from 11 local support services and young victims from With Youth in Mind.

“I’m delighted that Durham PCVC recognised the need for witnesses to see their local courts in photos and understand the process of giving evidence. The resources’ positive impact has spread nationally and internationally beyond Durham too; with Liaison and Diversion using them in Lancashire and Communication Partners in New Zealand.

Steve White, Acting Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said “I am pleased to be able to promote and enhance the valuable contribution which intermediaries make to ensure that vulnerable victims and witnesses are supported through the justice system.

“We are grateful for all the work which has gone into the development of these resources and hope that they will be a valuable tool for intermediaries and others working to support victims and witnesses”.

Resources are available on the Intermediaries for Justice website : https://www.intermediaries-for-justice.org/durham-pcvc-resources

If you are a victim of crime or know someone who has been please visit : https://victimcareandadviceservice.uk/   / 0303 040 1099