Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Commissioner backs the launch of Herts #VictimsRightsWeek
This week sees the launch of an awareness campaign across Hertfordshire which brings key partners together for a united awareness of victims’ rights and entitlements. The campaign, backed by both the Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd and Hertfordshire Constabulary, is the latest development in the Commissioner's on-going work in victim services in Hertfordshire.
 
Victims’ Rights Week will bring together various partners countywide to not only promote and discuss rights but also recognise the dedication of those who support victims of crime on a path to recovery.  Across Hertfordshire, various events and presentations will take place to raise awareness of victims' rights and help ensure those who have a responsibility to support them are aware of their roles and responsibilities. In addition to an immediate need for a fair and thorough crime investigation, police are increasingly focused on preventative measures and supporting victim care.
 
Monday February 22nd marks the 26th Annual European Victims' Day, created and recognised by Victim Support Europe, the leading European umbrella organisation advocating on behalf of all victims of crime. Here in Hertfordshire, the initiative has been extended to a full week to allow a full programme of events in support of the wider on-going campaign to raise awareness of how crime can affect not only its victim but their wider families too.
 
Events taking place across the county bring together representatives from key bodies such as Victim Support, Youth Connexions and Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust – Single Point of Access and will include presentations on Victims' Right to Review, Victim Support and Restorative Justice Awareness. A key highlight of the week’s events includes the opportunity for members of the public to visit a mock court trial at Hertfordshire University, to get behind the scenes and take the fear and apprehension out of the judicial process in encouraging victims to come forward.
 
Under the EU Directive, victims are to be recognised and treated with respect and dignity; to be protected and supported; to have access to justice; and to have the opportunity to obtain compensation and restoration if desired. Some of the rights and entitlements underpinning this Victims’ Rights Week include the right to be heard, the right to access victim support services and the Victim's Right to Review. Further details can be found on the website for Beacon, the Victim Care Centre for Hertfordshire at www.hertfordshirebeacon.org.
 
With ‘Putting Victims at the Centre’ a focal point of his Police and Crime Plan, Commissioner Lloyd has been heavily involved in key decisions regarding giving victims in Hertfordshire a voice, choices about the services they receive and support to cope and recover. A milestone in delivering these services was the launch of Hertfordshire Victim Care Centre Beacon as it moves towards its first anniversary this April.  
 
Commissioner Lloyd said: “Victims’ Rights Week signifies the next major step in Hertfordshire’s on-going development of victim support services. Following the launch of Beacon just under a year ago, the coming together of key partners and agencies for Victims’ Rights Week is essential in making sure everyone knows exactly what they are entitled to, by law.  This week doesn’t speak just to those accessing services as a result of crime – it’s about educating individuals, communities, friends and family on the breadth of support available for everyone.  The blue ribbon is a visual reminder that victims remain at the heart of our work in local policing.”
 
Chief Constable Andy Bliss added:  “This is about a partnership approach to victim care. Across the force we work with victims of crime every day successfully to investigate and detect offences thoroughly and fairly. We also work with victims to prevent further crimes or protect vulnerable people from offenders through dedicated specialist operations such as Manhunt which focuses on distraction burglars.
 
He added: “Beacon, which is made up of police staff and Victim Support, has a significant role to play to provide additional services and support for victims who need help at an upsetting and challenging time.  This ensures that the needs of victims are not treated as secondary to our role in fighting crime.”