Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS)
Victim Care Officer
The Office of the Police Crime Commissioner and Middlesbrough Borough Council have worked with local providers, one of which is Safer Communities, to develop the successful Middlesbrough Safer Streets Bid. The Safer Streets programme will develop preventative work and improve provision to address the issue of violence against women and girls (VAWG), included is:
- Improved CCTV and lighting in key locations
- Campaigns by Crimestoppers to educate the public and help them to challenge harassment
- A dedicated Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) to work with victims of stalking and harassment in Middlesbrough.
- Work around student safety and engagement organised by Teesside University to keep female students safe
- Purchase and distribution of personal safety apps and alarms as well as mobiles phones to help female residents feel safer
- A pilot sexual violence prevention and education programme with children and young people in schools and youth projects
- Roll-out of a VAWG prevention initiative which will see employers and local organisations trained as VAWG ambassadors via the ASK ME scheme
- Re-launch of the Safe Place scheme, increasing the safe place network across town
- Raising awareness of violence against women and girls (VAWG) via leaflets and promotional literature
- Appointment of a workplace champion to reach out to businesses and ensure they are alert to violence against women and girls
- Employment of a dedicated Victim Care Advice Officer for the Newport/ Central areas of Middlesbrough
Safer Communities will be delivering The Victim Care Officer (VCO) for the Newport/Central areas of Middlesbrough.
The VCO will be responsible for supporting people, but predominately women, who have experienced or been affected by crimes relating to sexual harassment, stalking, sexual violence and other offences where women and girls have felt vulnerable and unsafe in their communities. A VCO role is to help victims to cope with the immediate impact of the crime and assist them in their subsequent recovery. To achieve this, they will help victims to identify their coping and recovery needs and subsequently develop a jointly owned recovery plan that is suitable to the victims’ personal situation. They will provide this support for the victim whether the incident has been reported to the police or not.
They will act as the single point of contact for victims from the initial engagement until the need for support from the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS) has ended. This will include support throughout the victim’s journey through the criminal justice system and if appropriate for a period afterwards.
As well as working closely with the Cleveland Police, the post holder will liaise with partners in the Safer Streets programme to develop referral pathways and to network with wider agencies working with women and girls to develop new referral opportunities and pathways.
To explore opportunities for developing partnerships and relationships to broaden the scope for women and girls to report; seek support and create initiatives to promote safer streets from women and girls.
Responsible to: VCAS Manager
Location: Corvette House and the Safer Streets Boundaries of Newport and Central Manager
Salary: £26,118.82 – One-Year Fixed Term Contract (from the start of the post)
Mileage: Will be provided at £0.45p per mile.
Hours of work: 37 hours per week – Working hours are flexible to meet the needs of victim’s circumstances and service delivery demands
Duties and responsibilities
- Receive referrals from the VCAS Manager / Team Leader and also referrals from the police, direct from victims and from other 3rd parties.
- When required, review the police crime recording system and the VCAS Case Management System to identify victims that may benefit from support.
- Carry out initial enquiries in respect of those identified as potentially needing support and make contact with them by use of the safest contact method.
- Clearly explain their role and that of VCAS and establish if the victim would like support.
- If they would like support carry out a victim needs assessment and explore the victims’ experience of crime to establish the impact that the crime has had on their lives. Assess how they have been affected emotionally and the practical help needed to improve their level of safety, reduce the risks of repeat victimisation and assist in their subsequent recovery.
- Support the victim in the development of a Recovery Plan that helps them to cope with and recover from their experience of crime.
- Provide emotional and / or practical help (e.g. crime prevention advice subject to training) and guidance to secure their safety and assist victims to cope with the immediate impact of the crime.
- Populate and update the VCAS Case Management System.
- Liaise with the Police Officer in charge of the case, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Courts, Witness Care, the Witness Service and any other statutory body involved in the case to help to keep the victim informed of progress in respect of the case and address any concerns.
- Be aware of safeguarding issues that affect adults and young people and take appropriate action if safeguarding concerns are identified. Raise any safeguarding concerns with their VCAS Team Leader or the VCAS Manager.
- Identify agencies that can support victims and help them in their recovery. Engage with representatives from those agencies to establish effective referral pathways and when appropriate make referrals to assist the victim’s recovery.
- Represent VCAS at local Groups and events.
- Assist in the completion of applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
- Promote the use of Restorative Justice as an effective intervention to improve victim satisfaction and subsequently aid recovery. Make referrals to Restorative Justice agencies when appropriate and support the victim through the process.
- Will carry out lone working risk assessments.
Note The above list is not exhaustive and other duties commensurate with general nature of the post may, from time to time, be required. In addition, there may be some variation and / or development of the above duties and responsibilities without changing the general nature of the post.
- Safer Communities is committed to the active promotion of equal opportunities as an employer and in the provision of services. It is the responsibility of every member of staff to ensure the practical application of this policy.
- Under the Health & Safety at Work Act, all employees are required to take care of their own health and that of other employees in complying with their statutory duties.
- The post holder will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and also security vetting for non-police personnel.
- Comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and Safer Communities associated policies including confidentiality.
- Agree to attending additional training where identified, supervision, events and conferences as required.
- Ability to work as an effective member of a team.
- Hold a full driving licence and have use of own vehicle.
Victim Care Officer – minimum role requirements
The Victim Care Officer person specification:
- Be educated to a degree standard or able to demonstrate professional development and/or experience suitable for the role.
- Be highly motivated and can manage their own caseload.
- Be non-judgemental and work within the principles of equality and diversity. Can communicate in a way that is appropriate to the person being supported. Be empathetic and able to listen carefully and with sensitivity to what the victim has to say.
- Hold an understand the effects of crimes against women and girls
- Provide reassurance and confidence in respect of the victims’ ability to cope and recover.
- Ability to develop effective partnerships and referral pathways with local agencies to support victims of crime to cope and recover
- Be confident in the use of IT systems including the use the VCAS Case Management System and the police crime recording system.
- Have a good understanding of the criminal justice system, including knowledge of the legal processes, the Victim Code of Practice and Criminal Injuries Compensation process.
- Have a flexible approach based around the victims’ needs and the requirements of the Victim Care service.
- Be able to understand victim vulnerability, identify what action needs to be taken to help victims cope with the impact of being a victim of crime and subsequently recover, problem solve and be creative in finding solutions for people.
- Be able to effectively communicate and work in close collaboration with Police Officers and members of Police Staff, and other partner agencies.
Closing date is Monday 1st November 2021
Interviews to be held Thursday 4th November 2021
Contract length: 12 months
Job Types: Full-time, Contract
Salary: £26,118.82 per year
For more information, or to apply, please click here.