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officium - promoting justice for crime victims and survivors

promoting justice for crime victims and survivors

Services for people affected by violent crime need to reflect what is provided to perpetrators of violent crimes.

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surviving violent crime - accessing public services


  • reduction in welfare provision affects crime victims
  • failure of government to effect national policy of services for crime victims
  • ineffective poor senior managers social health care
  • social work duty of care crime victims
  • poor crime victim provision
  • innocent citizens affected by violent crime

assessing public services accessing public services

Each health and social services department throughout Britain has a duty to assess your needs and explain how services are provided and before leaving hospital an assessment of your needs should be provided. It is your right to be assisted by state services and if they decline they should provide useful alternatives to assist your needs.

Generally, and to our nation’s shame, it remains the case that the provision for crime victims and survivors is woefully inadequate and inconsistent.

It remains a fact that there exists a service lottery not just by location of where you live, but including your gender, race, class and education to know how to challenge poor services. It is still the case that health and social services fail to routinely accept their duty to respond in a thorough and timely manner to assess willingly the needs and risks crime victims may be experiencing.

Our statutory services hold the status in law and duty to care and often fail to do what they can unless public attention is directed towards them. For example, the scandal of the treatment of people at Stafford Hospital, the vulnerable residents in a Cornwall Homes for people with learning disabilities, homes for the elderly, children abusing children. We do not routinely expect directors and senior managers to be brought to account in court as responsible for institutional negligence and overt poor service. Too often such senior public servants are not held accountable at all.

The Department of Health (DoH) in this author's research experience showed consistent disinterest in the experiences, funding and needs of crime victims; certainly this was my experience while on a tri-ministerial advisory group. It has not engaged in invitations to join senior government advisory groups for crime victims to my knowledge. This is lamentable as its power and roles directly relate to the ability of a person to adjust and progress their lives.

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard,
nor welcomed.
But, when we are silent we are still afraid.
So it is better to speak,
we were never meant to survive.”

Litany For Survival: Audrè Lorde

Where does this leave people affected by violent crime? It appears to leave people left to either sink or swim, and sadly many people do silently sink. They sink into abyss of un-treated trauma, economic hardship, alcohol misuse, broken relationships and social isolation estranged from the life that once held meaning and order for them. My handbook provides a sensible model for government to attempt that is not radical and ensures crime victims are provided with the best of what is left of our welfare state, and private sector services. The DoH’s general resistance to work effectively alongside the criminal justice agencies of government should be a priority for any new government to put an immediate end to. It directly impedes human rights and on the well-being of crime victims and conflicts with government rhetoric of seamless, good value integrated services.

The powers exist to serve crime victims, but not the will from central government. The skills are diminishing along with decreasing public services, resources and morale among workforces. In the public services, successive governments have eroded a lot of the means for professionals to do their work effectively but provision to the public must be maintained. The voluntary sector, now sometimes called the Third Sector cannot undertake some of the tasks because in law the statutory services have a duty and power to act, even though the organizations often perform better than the statutory services.

We must hope statutory services improve and when they do these will be identified on this site with correct website links, so watch this space! In the meantime, the expert help section will have an increasing number of expert organizations that provide quality guidance for some enquiries, for example women’s services, disabilities, private investigators. If you know of excellent services I welcome hearing about them!!

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