Inspiration FM talks to Voice Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell
Click below to listen to the interview in full:
In England and Wales, an estimated 1.9 million adults aged between 16 and 59-years-old experienced domestic abuse in the last year. That’s 1.2 million women, and 713,000 men – every year.
Domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police amounted to 32% of violent crimes. To put that into perspective, one in every four women experiences domestic violence at some stage during their lifetime, and two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales.
In Northampton, there are many charities and organisations that help with victims of domestic violence, such as Voice, who provide independent emotional support and practical assistance to help victims cope, recover and thrive.
In the past twelve months, Voice has supported more than 15,000 people.
Inspiration FM: Why was Voice set up?
FC: “Voice was set up by the police and crime commissioner, to provide a free and confidential victim and witness service to the people of Northamptonshire. Our role is to supply emotional and practical support to victims and witnesses of crime, whether they’ve reported the crime to the police or not.
Inspiration FM: What work do you do to help victims and witnesses?
FC: “We provide a range of services, dependent on the individual’s needs. We tailor our support and provide information, guidance, safety planning and specialist help and support when they need it.
“We can provide telephone or face-to-face support, and our staff are trained to listen and help people make sense of what they’ve been through.
“From our initial contact, and for any cases that are going through the criminal justice process, we provide updates throughout the court process. If the case goes to trial, we can arrange travel to court and ask officers to implement Special Measures, such as screens in court to shield the victim from the perpetrator.”
Inspiration FM: What steps are taken when someone contacts Voice?
FC: “We undertake a full needs assessment for all support referrals we receive. We then allocate a support worker or witness care officer to provide practical and emotional support.
“We often coordinate with and refer to specialist support services such as trauma and therapeutic, where required.”
Inspiration FM: What would you say to anyone listening who might be at risk?
“I’d say please do not suffer in silence. Voice is here to help you, even if you don’t want to report the matter to the police. If you call us, our specially-trained staff will do all they can to help you cope and recover.”
Inspiration FM: How can someone contact Voice?
FC: “You can contact us on 0300 303 1965 or via the contact page on our website.
“We also have a children and young people service, which supports children of crime, and we refer those people to Assist Trauma Care, who can provide play therapy and specialist support for children who have experienced or witnessed crime.
“Our Voice for Road Harm service supports families who have lost someone through a road traffic incident, and individuals who have been seriously harmed as the result of a road traffic accident. They can also support witnesses who see such events. It’s a really integral part of our service.
“Voice has a restorative approach it can offer, too. This is where we bring an offender or someone who has caused harm and the victim together so they can talk or communicate in other ways about what has happened. It doesn’t have to be face-to-face, and gives someone who has been affected by crime, conflict or anti-social behaviour the opportunity to have their say, explain the impact the event has had on them and seek a direct explanation from the offender about what they did. Through that process, it enables them to cope and recover from the experience.”