November 2019: News form Avon & Somerset PCC
Helping victims of crime
Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited along to the opening of Yoko Ono’s Interventions/2 exhibition at the Georgian House in Bristol. For me, the most interesting part of Yoko Ono’s exhibition was Arising, a collaborative piece of work between sexual violence service Safe Link, domestic abuse service Next Link and curator and artist Jimmy Galvin. The powerful artwork focuses on 65 survivors who have used the victim services and their experience of domestic and sexual abuse.
I would encourage everyone to go and see this exhibition; the artwork features just the women’s eyes and, in their own handwriting, they tell their story of abuse or of recovery or both. It’s important that we give survivors a chance to share their experience and I truly hope that the exhibition encourages other victims to come forward and ask for help. I was especially happy to hear that the Next Link and Safe Link teams have delivered awareness training to museum staff in order to respond to anyone who discloses that they are victims.
Since becoming PCC in 2012, it has been a priority of mine to put victims first. Along with my team, I have focused on commissioning tailored support services to help victims of crime and anti-social behaviour. As well as Safe Link, the other providers include adult service Victim Support, enhanced adult support service Swan Advocacy, children and young people provider Young Victims’ Service and Restorative Justice service Resolve West.
We will be launching a campaign this month entitled #BeHeard, which will explore the services I mention above in more detail and why we need to give victims a voice in order for them to cope and recover from their experience.
I also wanted to let you know how we continue to support community projects and initiatives that work towards making local people feeling safe. The Road Safety Fund is part of the Police Community Trust and community groups, voluntary organisations, schools and the like can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to help improve road safety in their neighbourhoods.
With more and more vehicles taking to our roads, education and working together on projects to ensure roads remain safe for all those who use them has never been more important. Avon and Somerset Constabulary are already well supported by local residents through Community SpeedWatch schemes but we need to continue to all play our part in raising awareness of how to be safer on the roads. It’s really easy to apply and full details can be found on the Constabulary’s website.