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Sunday 22 April 2018

Press Release: £30m Boost for Vulnerable Victims of Crime

Vulnerable victims of crime across England and Wales will benefit from £30m of Government funding, over the next three years, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced today


The money has been allocated to local organisations that have a proven track record in supporting victims at their most vulnerable.


Children’s groups are among those that will benefit from today’s announcement, along with charities supporting victims of rape, domestic violence, hate crime, burglary, anti social behaviour and other violent crime. Those bereaved by murder, manslaughter and fatal road traffic crimes will also get the specialist support that they need.


Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, said:


'Grass-roots groups know the needs of their local area - and bring a wealth of experience to our drive to support the most seriously affected, vulnerable and persistently targeted victims of crime as they rebuild their lives. Funding these local organisations will help bring a targeted, sustained and tailored service to those who need it the most.
'This approach, coupled with our plans to reduce re-offending and to break the cycle of crime, will help us achieve our dual goals of protecting society and better supporting victims.'


The three-year funding will benefit organisations, helping them to provide sustained, specialist support to families who have been bereaved through crime.


For example, Winston’s Wish is a national charity providing emotional and practical support to some of the 24,000 children who are bereaved of a parent each year, and those coping with the death of a sibling.


Victims like the family of 19 year old Mark, who was murdered in an unprovoked attack in 2009. After contacting the charity through their national helpline, Winston’s Wish supported Mark’s parents and siblings for more than 18 months through individual and family meetings.


After attending a residential group, run by Winston’s Wish, for families bereaved by murder, Mark’s Mum said:
'From all the negatives in our lives, this is a positive. It was so good to know that professionals were keeping me safe; helping me to express myself'


Liz Koole, Family Services Manager at Winston’s Wish


It is a double blow when a homicide takes place; not only does the family have to cope with a sudden, unexpected death, they also have to deal with the way their relative has died. Children can often be left overwhelmed and bewildered by what has happened. These are ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances. Some families who have been bereaved through violence describe it as, “grief with the volume turned up.'


'Winston’s Wish is helping children and families bereaved through homicide across the UK. Experience shows that children who receive timely and appropriate support, information and advice are better able to face the future with confidence and hope.'


Another charity to benefit is Karma Nirvana, which supports female and male victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence.


Saima was just 14 when her parents promised she would marry an older cousin she had met briefly on a family holiday to Pakistan. She was tricked into returning to Pakistan - and made to marry the 26-year-old man she hardly knew, who beat and sexually abused her.


Following a harrowing ordeal - three suicide bids, an ‘honour’ knife attack which killed her unborn baby and being completely cut off from the family which claimed she shamed them, she contacted Karma Nirvana for support and advice. The charity helped her to rebuild her life.


'The worst thing was the fact that so many people were alerted, I told them but no-one helped because they thought I was a teenager seeking attention.


'Hopefully, now the law has changed, places like schools, colleges and people like social workers, police and doctors will take this more seriously than they did even just a couple of years ago.'


Jasvinder Sanghera, founder of Karma Nirvana, said:


'This funding means we can now say with certainty to victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence that our national helpline will be here for the next three years.
'We can save more lives and we can respond to an issue that our Government recognises is happening in the UK. We know the 550 calls we take each month, from women and men, are the tip of the iceberg and we want to encourage more people to seek help.'


Joanne, 15, found she could no longer cope after being raped at a party by a fellow school pupil. She said:


'I had nowhere to turn to and no-one understood. Cathy [at the Safety Net Advice and Support Centre] listened, didn’t judge me, and just got it. She stuck with me. Without her I’d be dead.'


Abigail Finnegan, chief executive of the Safety Net Advice and Support Centre, said:


'MOJ funding will help us reach children and families affected by rape and sexual abuse particularly on the West Coast of Cumbria where services for this type of work are few and far between.


'There is no quick fix to the devastating after effects associated with the trauma of sexual abuse. The provision of sustained funding means that a postcode lottery of specialist services is removed in West Cumbria and that we have increased capacity to provide long term specialist support to those who need it most.'


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