New service launched to help young victims of crime in north Wales
A new service has launched to give support and advice to children and young people who find themselves victims of crime in north Wales.
The service consists of a Children and Young People’s Caseworker at the Victim Help Centre, located at the North Wales Police Divisional HQ in St Asaph.
Funded by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Andy Dunbobbin, the Victim Help Centre is a one-stop-shop for victims across the whole of north Wales and brings together the support services of North Wales Police, the Witness Care Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Since the centre opened in 2015 it has supported over 200,000 victims of all sorts of crimes.
Each victim receives a response specifically tailored to their situation and the centre already employs specialists in mental health, hate crime, fraud, serious and organised crime and modern slavery.
Now, with this new post, children and young people have been added this list of specific groups supported through the work of the centre.
As with the Victim Help Centre as a whole, the new service is supported through funding from the PCC and is aimed at 13-17-year-olds across the region.
Children of 13, 14 or 15 need parental consent to access the service, but those aged 16 or 17 can refer themselves.
The Children and Young People’s Caseworker, Kaya Harding, from Old Colwyn, started in the role in May after having worked at the Victim Help Centre for 2.5 years.
The need for this new role and service was clear. Support had previously been given to parents of victims to then help their children, but it was recognised that more personalised and tailored support was needed directly for the young people.
Support and advice can be accessed through various channels, including over the phone, in person, via video call and WhatsApp.
A large number of the cases referred to the Caseworker concern sexual activity, blackmail, and school-related incidents.
Users of the service are split evenly between boys and girls and 167 referrals for support were made during the period from when the role began in May to the end of June.
Kaya Harding said: “This new service gives young people a voice and helps them understand about their rights. We saw there was a gap in service provision specifically aimed at victims who were children and young people.
“Hopefully it will encourage people to know that support and help is available for them if they need to report any incidents in the future.
“It is important to raise awareness both of the rights that people have, but also about the support that is there for them when they most need it.”
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, commented: “It’s a pleasure to support this new role of Children and Young People’s Caseworker, which I am sure will provide much needed advice and information to younger victims of crime in North Wales.
“Supporting victims and communities is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan for North Wales. This means helping all people who have fallen prey to crime, from the very old to the very young.
“Anyone can become a victim and everyone needs support, but children often need specialist support suited to their particular circumstances and appropriate to their age.
“I am sure Kaya and all the team at the Victim Help Centre will do an excellent job in helping victims in need in north Wales.”
What to do if you become a victim
If a crime is in progress and there are suspects present report direct to North Wales Police on 101 or if it is an emergency dial 999.
Victim Help Centre – The staff at the centre understand how to help and support victims of crime.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Victim Help Centre if you’ve been a victim of crime and would like to know more about how they can help you.
If you’ve been affected by crime in north Wales, call your local Victim Help Centre team on 0300 303 0159.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.00am-8.00pm and Saturday 9.00am-5.00pm
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