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The Superintendent Issue #43 Winter 2006

Moving Victims' Accounts – Book Review
Surviving Violent Crime – A Guide for Progress and Living Well – TS Duckett

This book is written by the author with personal experience of surviving violent crime. Simon Duckett felt very strongly that he would have benefited from this type of handbook as he fought to recover from the effects of his own tragic experience. So he went out and not only one but published it himself!
Determined to include every aspect that might assist a victim’s return to normality, he has produced an impressive piece of work. The detailed section about directly relating to the Criminal Injuries

Compensation Authority takes up only 44 pages of a 476 page book so that gives an indication of the spread of topics which it covers. These range from nutrition and exercise to the role of the Home Office.
I found certain parts of the book particularly moving, especially those excerpts from victim’s own stories. What these sections would have evoked in a fellow victim I do not know. If the pain was still very raw, I wonder how these excerpts would be.

The author is very critical of many of the services provided to victims and I would suggest it always needs to be remembered that this is a personal story and a gift to others from a fellow victim, rather than a totally authoritative and objective review of victims’ services. It is the latter point which I feel would make it difficult for this book to be handed free by police forces to all victims of violent crime. However, I do feel it would be a valuable resource for those working closely with victims, especially Family Liaison Officers. Not only does it give insight into a victim’s needs and feelings, but also provides the practical help which I am not aware has ever been collated into one handbook before. Certainly worth a place on the shelves of those of us struggling to help victims recover from traumatic incidents.

© 2006 Joan Williams
Women's Representative National Executive Committee
Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales

POLICE Vol. XXXVI No.2, February 2004

Surviving Violent Crime – A Guide for Progress and Living Well

The recognition and use of trained Family Liaison Officers over the past few years has developed significantly. The role of liasing with a bereaved family following a sudden, violent and unexpected death is a very difficult one and demands a careful balance of the Police officers role as an investigator together with the necessary compassion and sensitivity required at such a difficult time. Officers are also often looked upon to provide support for families. Although this is not our primary role, we do have a significant part to play in facilitating the support to families and providing them with enough information so they can make an informed choice as to the type of support they would find useful.

Simon Duckett uses his own personal experiences, much hard work and research to create a practical and informative guide for people who have suffered as a result of a violent crime. This spans information from the practicalities of self-help and awareness, to explanations of the roles of agencies and organisations. It also discusses the legislative demands and frustrations surrounding the criminal justice system. It reminds professionals dealing with such people of the issues to be mindful of and offer all readers further sources of help.

From a Family Liaison perspective this is one of the better examples I have read of an overview of the demands of our role and the impact on an individual of any decided course of action. It is particularly pleasing to read a fair and clear representation of the boundaries of our role in particular at the point when our role ends and others must start or take over.

This book is written in a very easy to read style. It is both informative and positive. It does not shy away from the challenges facing the relevant organisations in the Criminal Justice system, but balances this with offering solutions and ideas to promote change and progress.

In my view, this book is appropriately aimed at those affected by violent crime and those working with them. I would promote the use of this book as a useful additional tool to professionals and an informative and thought-provoking guide to those affected by violent crime.

© Louise Pye 2004
Force FLO Adviser for Sussex Police Secretary to the FLO National Executive Board

For enquiries, or purchasing contact the author’s website at www.officium.org.uk or directly Foyles Booksellers, London, (w) www.foyles.co.uk / 020 7437 5660; Politico’s Bookstore London (e)mail@politicos.co.uk 020 7828 0010 or Hammicks Legal Booksellers Limited, London (e)fleetstreet@hammicks.co.uk 020 7405 5711. All details available from the author's website.


Met Link, July 2003

For many years, crime victims were the forgotten army of the criminal justice system. Regarded as no more than glorified witnesses, their needs were largely ignored.

In recent years, they have started to come out of the shadows. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, victim support groups and family liaison officers are just some of the manifestations of the way in which victims are slowly edging into the spotlight.

But they are still very far from reaching centre stage as social services worker Simon Duckett found when he narrowly survived an arson attack that killed 11 other people.

In the aftermath of the crime, he found that there is still a dearth of effective guidance and help and that getting compensation was not easy.

Following research, he discovered other people who had suffered similar experiences to his own. As a result, he has written a book, called Surviving Violent Crime and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which aims to help victims through the maze that confronts them after the event.

The book, which has forewords by former Metropolitan Federation Chairman, Mike Bennett, and Scottish trauma psychiatrist Professor David Alexander, contains information on topics as diverse as dealing with the National Health Service and the media, what to expect from the police and the courts, victim groups and how to establish self-help groups.

There is also, as the 477-page book’s title suggests, a comprehensive chapter on claiming compensation and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and an extensive directory of agencies, charities, solicitors specialising in personal injury work, health specialists and other organisations which could be of use of victims of violent crime.

Mr Duckett, who funded production of the book from his own compensation payment, hopes that it will be bought in bulk by public services such as the police, Social Services and libraries, and thus be made accessible to the public – he does not have the resources to handle the logistics of selling individual copies.

Surviving Violent Crime has a cover price of £20 but there are a range of discounts available for bulk purchase.

More details can be found at the author’s website – www.officium.org.uk

© 2003 Ian Cameron
Met Link (Metropolitan Police)

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