A new service commissioned by Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner David Keane is helping young victims of crime recover from their ordeal.
Got Your Back offers support to victims of crime under the age of 18 in Halton whether they’ve reported the crime to the police or not.
Referrals to the service come via the police and partner agencies and it also helps young people that reach out for support via social media.
Since the start of 2019, it has already supported 18 young people across Runcorn and Halton via bespoke one-to-one support sessions.
The service works with young people to look at how they can put their experiences behind them. Together, a plan is formulated to establish who can support them. Some people may wish to feel safer or more confident since the crime against them happened. A regular review of progress is carried out to ensure that the young person is feeling more able to cope and recover.
One victim recently accessed the service as he felt vulnerable after being targeted by a group of youths. He told his Support Worker at the start of the sessions that his feeling of safety currently scored a ‘two’ on the scale of one to ten. However, after agreeing the plan and following the support, he now feels a seven.
Another priority for Got Your Back has been tackling hate crime in Halton. In just one month last year (July 2018), 108 hate crimes were reported by young people across Runcorn and Widnes.
The team from Got Your Back has delivered hate crime workshops to more than 550 under 18s in the area. The workshops help young people understand what a hate crime is, what to do if they feel they have been a victim of a hate crime and how to report it.
The feedback from the sessions has been extremely positive with young people coming up with ideas how they can support someone who has experienced a hate crime and helping them understand the impact hate crime can have on the wider community.
David said: “A review by my office identified that victims of crime under the age of 18 are currently under-represented in regards to victim services available to them in Cheshire, so I’m pleased that we’ve got a specific service supporting young victims in Halton.
“It’s fantastic to see the difference Got Your Back is already making to young people in Halton. Hate crime is an abhorrent crime which has no place in our communities and it’s important that we work with young people to help them understand what constitutes a hate crime and how to report it.
“I’d like to see similar services rolled-out across the whole of Cheshire to ensure our young people have access to the right support if they have been a victim of crime.”
Got Your Back is delivered by charity, Remedi, who also deliver restorative justice services throughout the whole of Cheshire.
Remedi was one of four organisations successful in its bid to the Commissioner’s Supporting Victims Fund, which funds projects which specifically support victims of crime under the age of 18.
Lisa Gill, manager at Remedi, added: “Remedi are delighted to bring this much needed support service to Halton. The Got Your Back service is extremely successful in other areas of the country to help young people feel safe and move on from a crime that has been committed against them.
“We are pleased that our partner agencies are referring people to the service and we are also receiving calls from parents who want to help their loved one feel more able to cope. We would also welcome young people living in the Halton area who have experienced a crime to contact us directly.”