Essex Police continue to put victim feedback as priority
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At Essex Police, the work does not stop when an investigation concludes. Our Crime and Public Protection Command prides itself in understanding how victims felt their level of service was throughout an investigation.
Two years ago, the command launched the Victim Feedback Panel, as an opportunity to understand how they can improve investigations and give victims the best possible support.
In a Victim Feedback Panel held in May, the victim of a non-recent historic sexual offence investigation spoke with a panel of people, including detectives and our partner agencies to say her thoughts.
The victim, who will remain anonymous said “I was hesitant to come forward at first but my investigating officer reassured me and gave me that courage I needed to continue.
“I was scared to come forward and wondered what I would be facing. The thought of going to court and re-living it all in depth was scary. But my investigating officer was so reassuring, and I realised it was going to be okay.
“Even after the sentencing, the investigating officer would ring me and message me to check in and see how I was getting on and whether I needed any additional support.
“You feel such closure when you know that the person who has hurt you is behind bars and cannot hurt anyone else.”
“The police may seem scary but they’re not. They just want to be there for you, help you and do their job.”
Detective Superintendent Neil Pudney KPM said “These Victim Feedback Panels are crucial for us to understand how we can be the best when it comes to helping victims of horrendous crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual offences.
“We take the opinions of those we have helped extremely seriously. Following the conclusion of every investigation, whether it leads to an arrest or not, we sit down with victims to complete a Victim Disclosure Discussion Document.
“This gives all victims the opportunity to tell us how they thought the investigation could be handled better. Overall, the feedback we get on these is really positive.”
“Earlier this year, our work in bringing sex offenders to justice and supporting survivors of sexual abuse was voted the best in the country, with 91.3% of sexual offences investigations resulting in a conviction.
“We will continue to take the learnings from these feedback panels to help vulnerable victims who deserve justice.”
In addition to this existing work, Essex Police are also working with City University of London on a national survey to hear from survivors of rape and sexual offences. The survey is anonymous and goes into giving a national picture around how police officers and support agencies can provide the best support possible.
Support is there for anyone affected by rape and sexual abuse, and no victim or survivor is alone. Synergy Essex provides specialist support for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and all genders across Essex, Thurrock and Southend.
Synergy Essex is a partnership of rape and sexual abuse centres in Essex: CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), SERICC Rape and Sexual Abuse Specialist Service and Southend-on-Sea Rape Crisis (SOS Rape Crisis). Synergy Essex is independent from the police and provides support for victims and survivors throughout their journey.
Victims and survivors can self-refer, or be referred by a parent, partner, friend or professional and can access specialist emotional support, counselling and advocacy. For victims and survivors who report to the police, Synergy Essex provides an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service, providing support throughout the criminal justice process.