The journey you take through the criminal justice system will be different for everyone. If you choose to report the crime to the police the journey may start with the police and end at court. Or it may end at different times along the journey for many different reasons. We know that people affected by crime find the criminal justice system confusing and it can be hard to get information about why some thing has happened. This is why we believe that having an independent advocate by your side is important. An independent advocate can help explain things to you, find out more information, signpost you to places you can get more information and support you through your experience.
When you first meet your advocate they will ask you some basic information about you and they will then work with you to understand what you need. You do not have to tell them in detail what happened, but it may help them and you to identify the most appropriate support for you. Everything you tell your advocate is confidential, but if they are worried about you or someone else they have to make a safeguarding referral. Your advocate will tell you more about how your privacy is protected when you meet with them.
As you work with your advocate you will develop a support plan together. They will tell you about what is available locally, or they may source specialist support for you if you have very specific needs which you feel will not be met with our offer. You should feel safe, believed and supported by your advocate. You can ask to work with someone with a particular gender and your advocate is trained to work with you in trauma informed way. If you are a young person, your advocate will come from our specialist young people service and can also offer support to your family, if you would like that.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall wanted victims to be supported by experts who have extensive experience in supporting victims and know clearly what they need. That is why the Commissioner developed an innovative ten-year strategic partnership with Victim Support. As our partner, Victim Support is helping us to commission the very best services for victims in Devon and Cornwall, and helping us to make improvements to the victim care journey.
The Police and Crime Commissioner also wants to make sure that she supports our local police service to offer the very best care to victims. As a result she also funds Devon and Cornwall Police’s Victim Care Unit. The unit is an internal police department which helps the police give the best care to people who report a crime to the police. The unit also works to ensure the police comply with the Victim Code of Practice. You can contact the Victim Care Unit direct on 01392 475900 if you would like to find out more about their role and the support they can offer in your journey.