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Tony Allen

Security Matters - Victim of crime - need help?

Wed 4 Nov 2009

By Tony Allen

Bovey Tracey keeps impressing me as a place where countless volunteers help to make it the town we all like living in. I was particularly pleased to read Sally Morgan's column last time, where she quite rightly praised the unsung heroes and heroines, young and elderly, who give up their time, interests, and often their careers and indeed lives, devoting themselves to caring for less fortunate family members. I know there are many who do just that in Bovey and the surrounding areas.

Hobby horse

The encouragement and appreciation of community volunteers is a hobby-horse of mine, and I recently wrote about the role played by Age Concern in helping the incapacitated and infirm with their daily chores and problems. However, this column is primarily aimed at security issues, which impact us all, and as this is a local magazine, I try to keep it locally focused.

Crime - who gets the attention?

Much media attention and publicity is given to criminals, and how they are treated. Both punishment and rehabilitation are high profile, and often it seems that despite the horrendous or irresponsible nature of some crimes, lawyers spend their time trying to find mitigating circumstances to avoid or lessen often inappropriate sentences. I don't know about you, but I don't find being plastered with drink an acceptable excuse. In fact it should be quite the opposite!

Two sides of the coin

What about the victims in all this? Do they get the attention and consideration that these criminals and those charged with offences seem to receive. I think not. They are often left to deal with the trauma and aftermath of assaults, burglaries, robberies, rape and muggings themselves, including attending court and providing evidence. This is where I can again promote another group of largely unpublicised and mainly unknown community volunteers, namely Victim Support. I first came across them at a Neighbourhood Watch conference, and I was very impressed by what they do.

A charity there to help

Victim Support is a national charity, with a small team of staff in Devon, who organise the activities of volunteers, including a group focused on the Teignbridge area. As well as working with victims of crime, their activities involve helping witnesses come to terms with the complexities and impersonality of dealing with the criminal justice system. The trained staff and volunteers can give free and confidential information, support and practical help to all those affected by crimes, including victim's families.

Flexibility

The public can contact the Victim Supportline directly. It can be because of something related to crime that may not even have been reported to the police or something that happened a long time ago. Other community organisations may also refer victims to the Supportline. These initial contacts are normally handled through a trained member of staff. The five volunteers in Teignbridge have training in handling domestic violence, sexual violence, and young victims of crime. They'll visit victims and relatives or friends also affected by incidents for as long as they need support.

Supporting witnesses

Witnesses are a key part of ensuring the courts deliver justice, and can often feel threatened by the whole process. 18 trained volunteers can offer practical witness support to anyone attending court, including visits to the courthouse pre-trial, and briefing them on court procedures and expectations.

Fear of crime

The local Victim Support is about to launch a local campaign about coping with the fear of crime. I know this exists even here in Bovey Tracey, and some residents just won't go out after dark. I am hoping to help Victim Support set up a presentation on this to a relevant Bovey Tracey organisation or two in the coming weeks.

Doing a good job?

We all want victims of crime to be supported by their community, and witnesses to be able to give their evidence without intimidation to help bring criminals to justice. After all, it could be you or me or our families that are affected in some way. So, in my view, this is an organisation well worthy of our support, because of the difference it can make in a way that is really important to us in making our society more civilised and respectful. However, it is a charity, not funded by central or local government, and needs donations to deliver and expand the services it offers. If you'd like to help with fund raising, please contact Fund Raising & PR Manager Rachel Steed on 07891 361 483.

Other contact information

Would you like to become a volunteer? Full and, if required, specific crime training is given and expenses are paid. More volunteers are needed in Teignbridge, and contacts are Sovay Peploe (01626 357581) for working with victims, and Annette Malloy (01626 331646) for supporting witnesses in courts.

The main Victim Supportline is 0845 676 1020 (8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Mon to Fri).

If you have some help or money to offer this organisation, please do so, as they are doing an excellent job that the whole community benefits from.



Other columns by Tony Allen

TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” - Tue 9 Nov 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” GETTING INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL - Mon 2 Aug 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BOVEY THANKS VOLUNTEERS & “LIFELINE” SHOPS - Mon 14 Jun 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” BREATHS OF FRESH AIR ALL AROUND - Tue 7 Jul 2020
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” COMMUNITY COHESION………………… - Tue 11 Feb 2020
CLIMATE ACTION: WHERE DO YOU START?.......... - Mon 2 Dec 2019
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN OUR LOCAL COUNCILS…? - Thu 1 Aug 2019
BOVEY TRACEY ACHIEVES “PLASTIC FREE” STATUS........... - Fri 3 May 2019
IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE........ - Thu 24 Jan 2019
COMMUNITY MATTERS - “PLASTIC FREE BOVEY”, RARE PRAISE, ELECTIONS - Thu 8 Nov 2018
Young people in the community - Thu 15 May 2014
Moving Bovey Tracey forward - Tue 4 Mar 2014
Is Bovey Tracey too shabby and run down to attract visitors? - Mon 9 Sep 2013
A public consultation should be just that - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Athletes, young people and rural watch - Tue 13 Nov 2012
Bovey Beats Most Of The Summer Weather - Wed 5 Sep 2012
What sort of Town do you want Bovey to be? - Sun 1 Jul 2012
Awards, Traffic, Policing & another Top Shop! - Thu 3 May 2012
GOOD NEWS, SPECULATION, AND MORE GOOD NEWS - Thu 5 Jan 2012
RUBBISH, SPEED, LIGHTS OUT, BADGERS and more! - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Newspapers, Tragedy, Cheques and MORE! - Sun 11 Sep 2011
Community Matters - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Growth of Neighbourhood Watch In Bovey Tracey - Tue 3 May 2011
Which would you rather have: A PC (Police Commissioner) OR Several PCs (Police Constables)? - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Helping Ourselves In Time Of Austerity - Sun 9 Jan 2011
Security in the current Economic Climate - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Security Matters - Spelling it Out - Mon 6 Sep 2010
The Ultimate Deterrent or Not - Tue 6 Jul 2010
NHS Summary Care Records  Will Your Personal Health Information Be Secure? - Mon 3 May 2010
Social Networking - A risk or a good thing? - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Security Matters - Back to Basics! - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Security matters - are you being conned? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - ID cards and hotel key cards - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - Personal security - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Who owns your identity? - Wed 4 Nov 2009


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