Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) is increasing his support for young victims of crime by awarding grants to organisations that deliver services which specifically target younger victims.
The NSPCC, Young Addaction, Remedi and Warrington Youth Club were successful in their applications to David Keane’s Supporting Victims Fund – a new fund which was launched to support services which offer tailored support to victims.
The fund was set up following the completion of a review by the PCC’s office, which identified that victims of crime under the age of 18 were currently under-represented in regards to victim services available to them in Cheshire.
David said: “I am committed to putting victims first and ensuring that our local victim services offer the right type of support to give victims of crime the confidence to seek help when they need it.
“Following the review completed by my office, I listened and learned that there were limited services on offer in Cheshire which specifically support younger victims of crime.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how each project develops and how we can work together to increase support for young victims of crime so they can be supported through the aftermath and their long-term recovery.”
The funding will allow for the NSPCC’s Hear and Now project to be delivered in Cheshire. The project provides support for troubled and vulnerable children who may not have disclosed sexual abuse, but are displaying worrying signs that something is wrong.
Caroline Watts, NSPCC service centre manager at NSPCC's north west base, said: “We are incredibly grateful to have received this very generous grant from the police and crime commissioner’s office.
“We know that one in three children who experience sexual abuse don’t tell anyone what has happened to them, and this grant will enable us to help more vulnerable young people in our communities and give them the confidence to speak out.”
It will also see the pilot of the ‘Got Your Back’ project in Cheshire - a tried and tested support service developed by Remedi in Derbyshire to work with young people who have been victimised, regardless of whether they have reported it to the police or not.
The organisation - which the commissioner also funds to deliver restorative justice services across Cheshire - will provide face-to-face support and mentoring for young victims in Halton.
Lisa Gill, manager at Remedi Cheshire, said: “We are thrilled and excited to be introducing our Got Your Back mentoring and support service for young people in Cheshire.
“The funding will enable us to provide essential, dedicated, bespoke support services for young people affected by crime. We are looking forward to working in partnership with young peoples’ services in Halton to promote the service and ensure a joined up approach to meeting individual needs.”
The grant awarded to Young Addaction will support work across Cheshire to reduce the risk of children becoming victims of criminal or sexual exploitation. They will work with vulnerable young people and their families to raise awareness of the signs of exploitation, and help them to stay safe and find support.
Elise Cox, team leader at Young Addaction, said: “We are really pleased to have received the grant and are looking forward to working with all local partners to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation across Cheshire and leading the drive to tackle this serious issue for our young people.”
Warrington Youth Club will support young people aged 13-19 who have been victims of disability hate crime with the funding they’ve been awarded by the commissioner. They have plans to run a course to increase education and resilience around hate crime.
Chief executive of Warrington Youth Club (WYC), Dave McNicholl, said: “We believe that every child and young person growing up should be able to do so without the fear of prejudice or marginalisation.
“Our range of projects for young people promote positive environments where young people can feel safe and included. We are, therefore, delighted to have received funding through the police and crime commissioner for Cheshire’s ‘Supporting Victims Fund’.
“Over the next nine months, WYC will be working in close partnership with local officers and PCSOs, as well as other local statutory and voluntary organisations, to ensure that dozens of local young people receive targeted support, raising confidence in services and improving the resilience and safety of some of our community’s most vulnerable young people.”
All of the projects which I have been funded by the Supporting Victims Fund will develop approaches which can be incorporated across the county.