Tag Archives: Victim Support

One Year On – Trigger Thoughts

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 coming into force. Legislation that promised a louder voice for victims and swifter respite from the effects of anti-social behaviour.

A year ago I asked whether, with reference to the Community Trigger or Anti-social Behaviour Case Review, we would all become Trigger Happy. Perhaps the first thing to comment is that we don’t actually know the answer to this, but suspect it very unlikely!

Each area is obliged to report each year on how many Community Triggers have been activated and how many actually met the criteria for a Trigger. Yet we are not aware of any central body collating this information or analysing it. We have seen a few Local Authority websites state how many Triggers had been activated up to March 2015 (best practice) but the majority leave us guessing. Worse than that, some Local Authority websites still do not make any reference to the Community Trigger – we will not be surprised to find none activated there. A response like this:

We suggest that people contact our Customer Quality team, who then raise it with the heads of service.

makes me want to cry. How will victims of persistent anti-social behaviour realise that hidden behind the standard customer quality team complaints process, is a tool designed specifically for them, enabling them to demand a multi-agency review of their case?

We have requested feedback from people who make use of the Community Trigger and the responses we have had confirm the concerns we raised a year ago. In particular, the lack of an independent voice is real cause for concern. There are some notable exceptions – London Borough of Hillingdon who has decided a Victim Support volunteer will be involved in every Trigger case and represent the victim at the meeting (http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/29903/Community-Trigger) – but feedback from victims in other parts of the country indicate a closed process with a written response at the end of it to state ‘all procedures were followed’. A far cry from government’s intention that victims would be put first and issues would be resolved quicker.

It is worth noting that other powers in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 are being put to good use. The Closure Order in particular has been effective – this month it was Northumbria Police’s turn to grant its first (http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/crime/police-use-new-weapon-to-board-up-south-shields-drug-den-1-7496399) following a steady stream of other forces. Worth mentioning too the successful use of the Community Trigger in South Gloucestershire though the focus is on the Closure Order once more.

We are glad these residents knew about the Trigger and used it – they might still be suffering otherwise … With no national promotion, nor media interest, local promotion has usually been minimal or non-existent. We will push for a review of the Community Trigger – introduced properly, it has the power to improve the lives of hundreds of victims of anti-social behaviour. Hidden behind closed doors it is no use to anyone.

Jenny Herrera CEO

Effective Support for Anti-Social Behaviour Victims

Today we are launching a new report looking at Victim Support’s work with the victims of anti-social behaviour. ASB Help Report Effective Support November 2014

The aim of this research was to establish the availability of Victim Support services across the country and to gain an understanding of the nature of the support available.

We found:

bullet Only 23% of the population in England and Wales have access to specialist Victim Support anti-social behaviour services.

bullet The characteristics of the support available vary greatly from place to place in funding, scope, and profile.

bullet An independent point of contact – as used in the ‘ASB Champion’ service model – is of huge value to victims of anti-social behaviour in reducing the complexities of getting help.

Our recommendations include:

bullet Priority in commissioning for victims of anti-social behaviour should be given to specific victim-focused support, preferably independent of the local or statutory authorities.

bullet Increased sharing of best-practice both within and between local authorities.

bullet Increased sharing of best-practice between Police and Crime Commissioners following their local consultations.

bullet Victims who activate the Community Trigger should be automatically referred to Victim Support for support, advice and advocacy (as currently happens with victims of crime).

bullet Greater support made available for victims whose case goes through the civil courts.

bullet The introduction of a national minimum standard for anti-social behaviour support.

bullet More accessible information for victims about reporting anti-social behaviour and how to get help.

Established in 2013, ASB Help’s remit is to help and advise victims of anti-social behaviour wherever they may be in England and Wales, primarily through informing them and signposting them to the appropriate local agency to help them deal with the problem they are experiencing. If you have any questions about the attached report please contact us.

PRESS RELEASE: Major gaps in support for victims of anti-social behaviour

Major gaps in support for victims of antisocial behaviour, report finds

Despite an estimated 8.2 million anti-social behaviour (ASB) incidents taking place each year, less than a quarter (23%) of victims of antisocial behaviour in England, and only 38% of victims in Wales have access to the support services they need, a report by the charity ASB Help reveals.

The ground-breaking research provides the first comprehensive map of the independent anti-social behaviour support available to victims across England and Wales. The report highlights the value of the practical help and emotional support that is being provided through locally-commissioned Victim Support projects in some areas.

In Newcastle, Leeds, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Tower Hamlets dedicated anti-social behaviour teams are working with victims while in 25 other areas Victim Support is providing ‘Victims Champions’ to help people cope with their experiences. However, the patchy provision and funding across the country means that a staggering 43 million people do not have access to such specialist independent antisocial behaviour services.

The report by ASB Help calls for a national minimum standard of support for antisocial behaviour victims, for local authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners to fund more local projects, and greater support for victims who are seeking redress through the civil courts. It also suggests that new government anti-social behaviour legislation would be improved if victims were given a clearer route to getting help.

Jennifer Herrera, Chief Executive Officer of ASB Help said: “Resolving anti-social behaviour often requires a multi-agency response and lines can be blurred as to who has responsibility for acting. Sometimes no one acts and the victim continues to suffer in silence. We believe an independent victim-focused point of contact like Victim Support ASB Champions is crucial for a victim-centred approach to tackling anti-social behaviour. We have confidence in signposting victims to such a service but this report shows that in many areas we do not have that option. We believe this urgently needs to change.”

Adam Pemberton, Assistant Chief Executive of the charity Victim Support said: “Antisocial behaviour can take on many forms, from littering and drunkenness to verbal abuse and threatening behaviour. It is often persistent and can shatter people’s lives and have a negative impact on the communities in which they live. “It’s clear from the findings of this report that there are massive gaps in support for people who are affected by antisocial behaviour, which must be addressed. A consistent approach to tackling this is needed. Agencies need to work together and learn from each other to ensure victims no longer fall through the gaps and have to cope with the torment of antisocial behaviour alone.”

Ends

About ASB Help

ASB Help is a national UK charity seeking to assist victims of anti-social behaviour as to their rights – who they should report the anti-social behaviour to and crucially, what to do if they do not get a satisfactory response. Some areas of the UK have excellent resources to help victims of anti-social behaviour, including dedicated helplines. To find out more about ASB help visit: http://asbhelp.co.uk/

About Victim Support

Victim Support is the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. Last year we offered support to more than 1 million victims of crime and helped more than 198,000 people as they gave evidence at criminal trials through our Witness Service. Victim Support also provides the Homicide Service supporting people bereaved through murder and manslaughter and runs more than 100 local projects which tackle domestic violence, antisocial behaviour and hate crime, help children and young people and deliver restorative justice. The charity has 1,400 staff and 4,300 volunteers and is celebrating its 40th anniversary during 2014. To find out more about Victim Support visit: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/

ASB Help Report Effective Support November 2014