A new initiative to support victims of anti-social behaviour is set to be rolled out across Northumbria.
Last year, North Tyneside Council and Vera Baird joined forces to launch a support group for victims and recruited a network of 16 fully-trained volunteers to offer advice and guidance to those affected by ASB in the area.
The aim of the initiative was to help victims of ASB to cope and recover following an incident or sustained attacks.
The scheme, welcomed by local residents, has helped improve satisfaction levels in the local tenant survey, which found that 100 percent of victims felt they had been supported throughout the duration of their case.
Following the success In North Tyneside, the Commissioner has funded an ASB Volunteer Network throughout Northumbria to help address key priorities outlined in the Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan: - putting victims first, tackling ASB, and improving community confidence. As a result, similar ASB volunteering groups will soon be operating in all local authority areas, with Newcastle and South Tyneside already taking referrals.
Coun Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Anti-social behaviour not only has a detrimental impact on communities, it can be extremely distressing for the individuals affected, impacting on their health and wellbeing. It is something we are determined to tackle. Through this scheme, we have already recruited a number of people to give guidance as well as help to provide both emotional and practical support to victims and witnesses. We are really keen to attract more volunteers. All they need to have is a willingness to help others as free training and ongoing support is provided."
The scheme is also being rolled out to Sunderland.
Coun Harry Trueman, Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We are committed to continue working together to provide victims of anti-social behaviour with the help and support that they need, as well as taking action against those responsible. Providing that help and support through this volunteer project, will help us to take a more individualised personalised approach and put people more at ease when they’re talking about what affects their experiences have had on their daily lives. The Volunteer Centre in Sunderland will play a vital role in developing this project, and all our community safety partners are looking forward to working more closely with the centre to strengthen the support network in place across Sunderland for anyone who has experience or concerns about anti-social activities of any kind.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: "Protecting people from harm and helping victims are top priorities for me. The team of volunteers in North Tyneside continue to do a fantastic job and it's great to see the hugely positive impact they are having in supporting victims in their area.
"This year I am working with all six local authorities to establish similar projects across Northumbria, to strengthen and complement the overall support available for victims of ASB. £105,000 has been made available to assist councils in developing volunteer groups locally and I'm delighted to see that everyone has grabbed the opportunity and their local schemes are in progress.
"Anti-social behaviour can affect anyone at any time and I am very thankful to all the volunteers and everyone involved in helping me tackle this issue head on and making a difference to the lives of victims. I wish each project great success."