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PDMS provide technology for new innovative victim and witness service
23 October 2014
PDMS have been working with PNLD (Police National Legal Database), providing the technology, to help launch another innovative new service aimed at helping victims and witnesses of crime.
The website, aptly named www.helpforvictims.co.uk is being launched today by Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson with an event in Leeds that will be attended by Baroness Newlove, who was appointed as the Victims' Commissioner in 2012 together with the charity Victim Support, who will be closely involved with referrals from the website.
Funded by the Ministry of Justice, it is hoped that the website will be rolled out to other police forces across England and Wales and is for anyone who feels they are a victim or witness to a crime and don't know where to go for help.
With the introduction of Help for Victims, individuals will be able to immediately access all the information contained within the Victims' Code and the Witness Charter in a question and answer format.
The local features of the website, which is in five other languages in addition to English, and reflects the West Yorkshire community, include individual pages dedicated to over 400 local supporting organisations, which can help with concerns such as cyber bullying or hate crime with trained advisers on hand to answer questions or concerns.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: "This website will ensure victims and witnesses have access to all the knowledge they need to empower them to make informed decisions.
"I have made five promises within my Police and Crime Plan to victims and witnesses including ensuring they get the high quality support and help they need, when they need it, in the way they need it from the right agency.
The Help for Victims website fits that criteria because it contains advice and support from the Victims' Code as well as details of numerous relevant organisations within West Yorkshire that can also help victims.
It is the only website with all these facilities in one place that provides clear and concise advice to victims and witnesses who want to understand the criminal justice process and their rights, contained within the Victims' Code.
There is also information for victims and witnesses to self-refer to local organisations who can provide particular specialist victim and witness services beyond the website.
Anyone who feels they are a victim or witness to a crime and don't know where to turn for help can use this website. It is there for the most vulnerable in society and empowers individuals to make choices for themselves and provides an opportunity for them to have an effective voice in the wider criminal justice system."
Lesley McLean, the divisional manager for Victim Support in West Yorkshire, added "People in West Yorkshire are lucky that they have this additional website to use if they are a crime victim. Not only will they be able to get information about their entitlements through the Victims Code, but also have a database of organisations they can turn to for help.
As a charity we have supported thousands of people who have been the victim of a crime in West Yorkshire and we work in partnership with many other organisations in and around the region.
We aim to make sure all crime victims get the support they need and the respect they deserve - regardless of whether or not they want to report a crime to the police."
To date, PNLD have developed a raft of services which benefit police forces, the wider criminal justice community and members of the public, including the national Ask the Police portal and mobile apps which provide legally verified answers to commonly asked questions - reducing the amount of non-emergency phone calls and thereby saving the police forces millions of pounds each year.
Help for Victims - did you know?
- As well as English, the site has been translated into the five most frequently spoken languages in West Yorkshire, including Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic and Polish.
- It is the only website which provides answers within a time frame of 24 working hours to questions relating to the Victims Code and content of the site.
- It is also the only website of its kind which will be provided in IoS and Android App format.