The Help for Victims app features answers to an extensive number of frequently asked questions on topics ranging from restorative justice, to crime specific information and legal processes. Importantly, it further directs victims, witnesses and their families to hundreds of organisations which provide support. Help for Victims can now be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Help for Victims provides a powerful channel for communicating with Victim Support, with the ability to ask questions that are responded to by PNLD staff or Victim Support. Questions posed to the site are generally processed within 24 working hours to provide a fast and efficient service to the local community.
Furthermore, in areas where Police and Crime Commissioners have subscribed to the service, the App will provide information and guidance on local support organisations and other information relevant to the local area. The ‘I need Help’ functionality provides the ability for individuals to refer themselves to the local area office of the Victim Support Charity, completely anonymously.
This feature also provides translations of all of the guidance into the 5 most recognised languages for the community they reflect; in West Yorkshire those being Polish, Arabic, Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu. The local feature is currently only available in the West Yorkshire and Humberside PCC areas, with plans to further roll out the app to other PCCs and expand this functionality, including content in languages prominent in each area.
The App also features a question of the day, highlighting areas of current concern or interest, search functionality and the ability to contact Police and Crime Commissioners throughout England and Wales.
PNLD, a Business Service of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, provide online legal products and services to UK police forces and law enforcement agencies, created Help for Victims with the support of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and in collaboration with Yorkshire and Humber Victim Support.
Recognising the value of technology in effectively communicating legal information, PNLD has partnered with PDMS on numerous website and app development projects. The ‘Ask the Police’ website has received well over 50 million hits, whilst the ‘Ask the Police’ app has now been downloaded over 45,000 times; it has reduced the time and resources that the police spend managing 999 emergency calls, saving the police an estimated £25 million per year! Meanwhile, ‘Motoring and the Law’ provides motoring specific FAQ’s and is targeted at motoring enthusiasts, the police and other stakeholders.
The launch of the new app is the result of a thriving technology partnership between PNLD and PDMS, and is a demonstration of how the innovative use of mobile technology can be used to improve access to information and in the name of a very good cause!
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