AN online support service for victims of crime in Studley and Alcester has been rolled out 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Victim Support.
The independent charity, whose work with victims in Warwickshire is funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, says the Live Chat service, which will now be county-wide, is designed to provide a safe space for people to talk openly about their experience of crime and get the help and support they need.
The text-based service is aimed at helping those who might find it difficult to access support over the phone or in person.
Live Chat is free, confidential and staffed by trained supporters, who offer emotional and practical support tailored to each person’s needs.
Anyone who has been affected by a crime in Warwickshire – whether or not it has been reported to the police – can use the service at https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/support-near-you/live-chat.
Melina Hancox of Victim Support in Warwickshire, said: “Extending the existing Live Chat service to provide 24/7 support is a really significant step forward to ensuring we can support victims of crime in Warwickshire in ever greater numbers.
“It’s important that our service reflects the way in which people use their smartphones, tablets and computers at all times of the day.
“The Live Chat facility also helps remove some of the barriers some victims may face in getting help – particularly those who cannot or do not wish to use the other ways to get in touch with us.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “As Commissioner, it’s my job to ensure that all victims of crime in Warwickshire have access to specialist to help them cope and recover from the effects of crime.
“This is one of the key parts of my Victims and Witnesses Charter, so I’m really pleased that Victim Support’s excellent Live Chat facility is now available at all times of the day.
“Crime can have a devastating effect on victims, so being able to have emotional and practical support available at their fingertips whenever they need it is a huge stride forward.
“For many people, their smartphones, tablets or computers are now the most convenient and routine way they access services and this should be no different for victims of crime.
“For those who are particularly vulnerable and may not be able to phone for support, such as victims of domestic or coercive abuse, the Live Chat facility is really important and I’d urge all victims to get in touch.”
Victim Support continues to offer telephone support alongside the Live Chat facility.
If you’ve been affected by crime, call the victim care team in Warwickshire on 01926 682 693.
Lines are open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm on Saturdays.
If you need support outside of Victim Support’s open hours, call the Supportline for free on 08 08 16 89 111.
The charity also operates regular drop-in sessions throughout Warwickshire. Check out the schedule on Twitter at @VS_Warwickshire.