Closing the gap in victim support

Snr Sgt Tim Douglas (left), Sgt Jan Stroek and Depertment of Justice and Regulation's Tom Wills with Anglicare Victoria's support workers for the region Kim Martin and Cate Evans.

Snr Sgt Tim Douglas (left), Sgt Jan Stroek and Depertment of Justice and Regulation's Tom Wills with Anglicare Victoria's support workers for the region Kim Martin and Cate Evans.

A move to co-locate a Victims Assistance Program at Kyneton and Castlemaine police stations will help to close the gap in victim support.

Support workers from Anglicare Victoria's program will be based at the Kyneton station one day per week and Castlemaine station one day per fortnight to assist victims with navigating the criminal justice system.

The program is a free service that provides a range of practical support, advocacy and therapeutic counselling to victims of crime.

Involved with the state pilot program in Sunbury, local Senior Sergeant Tim Douglas said the program would provide the best care for victims after traumatic experiences, which was lacking in the past.

"This will help us in providing the best support and in getting the voices of victims of crime to court," he said.

"After seeing this program up and running, I know that it works. It works really well. It is one of the best programs I have seen in my 28 years."

Snr Sgt Douglas said the co-location was well timed as the region experienced growth that often coincided with a change in the rate and type of crime experienced.

He said the service played a huge role in the support of victims of the Malmsbury Juvenile Justice Centre riots in January which involved carjacking, threats, assaults and armed robbery.

Support was made available immediately after police interviews, and during the January to April period that followed, VAP provided 25 referrals to assist victims.

The program helps victims communicate with police, prepare for court, manage personal safety, organise transport and medical services, assist with victim impact statements, assist with submissions to the Adult Parole Board, organise counselling, apply for financial help and link with other services.

VAP provided 7737 hours of support between 1047 clients across the Lodden Mallee region in the last financial year.

Anglicare Victoria's St Luke's regional director Francis Lynch said the co-location was a positive move for the local community.

"Having a counselling professional from the Victims Assistance Program ready to assist victims of crime at the police station will enable clients to receive the timely, ongoing, personal support they require with their recovery," he said.

As the co-located program progresses it is expected support workers will be available on additional days.

The program is funded by the Department of Justice and Regulation Victims Support Agency.

The service can be accessed by contacting the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817 (8am to 11pm) or contacting Anglicare Victoria directly on 1800 244 323.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop