Victim Support under threat from Tory proposals – Tom Blenkinsop MP

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (6th June 2012) met with Johanna Parks, Divisional Manger for Victim Support in Teesside, to discuss Government plans to devolve support services for victims and witnesses to the new police and crime commissioners.

Victim Support currently receives 80% of its funding from the government and has criticised plans to devolve the commissioning of services for witnesses and victims of crime to 42 new locally elected police and crime commissioners. The charity claims the new local commissioning system would cost £21m to set up and lead to inconsistent service provision around the country.

Tom said:
“Many would agree that local services should meet local needs, however I’m not convinced – nor are Victim Support – that the proposals outlined by the government can achieve this.

“Dividing up a well-established service between 42 police commissioners, each with their own individual agendas could mean that support for victims and witnesses become a lesser priority. This could lead to a postcode lottery of support available for victims.

“In my constituency alone there have been 1459 victims who have received a range of support tailored to their needs from Victim Support. These proposals carry with them a very high risk of poor and ineffective service delivery, with those with the greatest needs even more likely to miss out.”

Johanna Parks, Divisional Manager Teesside and County Durham Victim Support, said:
“The local service that we provide to Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland is backed up by a national infrastructure that allows us to deliver the kind of economies of scale and consistency that can only be achieved by a national organisation. Local sharing out of government funding brings with it a significant risk of high administration costs and varying levels of effectiveness. We urge the government to reconsider this proposal and recognise the risk that it will end up costing more and could ultimately mean that victims in need of crucial help and support will lose out once again.”

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