Birmingham Victims’ Charter set for approval

By on 16/05/2013 in Cabinet, News

The needs and interests of the victims of crime and anti-social behaviour will be officially recognised in the Birmingham Victims' Charter.

Ensuring all victims receive a high quality service from key agencies - in a timely, adequate and meaningful manner - is at the heart of the charter, set for approval by the city council's Cabinet on May 20.

Its development has been led by Victims' Champion Cllr Jess Phillips, with a series of roundtable discussions and focus group meetings held with relevant organisations and victims of crime last year along with an online survey for the wider public to offer their thoughts.

As a basis, the council has taken the Ministry of Justice's national code of practice for victims of crime and enhanced it by adding value and improvement on a local level for victims in Birmingham (see notes to editors for full details).

Cllr Phillips said: “Crime in Birmingham has been falling to the point that we are now the safest Core City - but we shouldn't become complacent.

“Everyday there are still new victims of crime and anti-social behaviour, who deserve the best service possible from the agencies that support people in their time of need.

“The Birmingham Victims' Charter is our way of formally recognising this by setting a standard for the quality of service they should expect to receive. As Victims' Champion for the city, I will do everything I can to ensure all agencies work together and to the best of their abilities to ensure this is achieved.”

Other key elements of the charter are a pledge to create a directory of services for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour along with a set of recommendation for how the city council and other agencies can improve their services to ensure the aims of the charter are met.

For the city council these cover all areas of business and include:

•    Each council directorate to nominate a single point of contact for the Victims' Champion to discuss emerging issues or casework with
•    Reviewing the layout of Customer Service Centres (neighbourhood offices) for victims who may require privacy, with each Centre to have a hate crime champion within their team
•    Increased use of restorative justice as a way of reducing reoffending and helping victims feel there has been some redress
•    Improvements to partnership working between the Environmental Health, Housing and Community Safety Partnership anti-social behaviour teams
•    The development of educational material for use with young people to reduce domestic violence within their relationships and help establish positive attitudes towards interpersonal relationships
•    Increased partnership working with Trading Standards to reduce risk of rogue traders and distraction burglaries amongst older adults and vulnerable people
•    Improved relationships with mental health providers

It is expected key figures such as the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands and other leading agencies with an involvement in victim services will pledge to work to the charter's aims in the coming weeks and months, if it is approved by the Council's Cabinet.

Council Leader Sir Albert Bore, who pledged to create the role of Victims' Champion and the subsequent Victims' Charter in his Leader's Policy Statement of June 2012, added: “I am proud we have reached a point where we have been able to appoint a Victims' Champion and develop a Victims' Charter for Birmingham.

“The rights of victims should always be put first by all agencies dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour, and we will do everything we can to ensure that this is the case for Birmingham's citizens.”


Notes to editors

The Victims' Champion will lead the progression of the Victims' Charter, supported by the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership - a joint partnership between Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust and other agencies that work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that affects our communities.

The local pledges made within the Victims' Charter, that go beyond the Ministry of Justice's national code are that as a victim of crime or anti-social behaviour in Birmingham, you can expect:

•    To be taken seriously
•    To be treated with kindness when reporting the incident and thereafter
•    To be treated with dignity, respect and to be treated fairly
•    To be referred to Victim Support and/ or specialist providers for additional support
•    To be kept up to date
•    To be offered the option to have a contact plan
•    To be listened to, regardless of agency and not passed around
•    To know where to go if things are not right and how will agencies be held to account.

For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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