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Essex Probation

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Quick Reference

Work with Victims

Victims are the reason we come to work. Our role is to make sure that there are fewer victims in future. The vast range of work that is done with offenders is geared to that aim. Putting an offender on the straight and narrow, and helping them to become better citizens, is a victory for the victim.

Probation’s Victim Contact Unit

However, assumptions are often made that Probation’s work is purely with offenders. Its work with victims of crime is less well-known. The NPS Victim Contact Unit in Essex was set up to provide a service to victims, or their families, of sexual and violent crime. We work with our criminal justice partners and victims’ organisations to ensure that services to them are cohesive and where necessary, protection is provided.

Women’s Safety Workers

In the case of Domestic Abuse where we are supervising the perpetrators on a resulting court order, Women’s Safety Workers are there specifically for their victims.

Multi-agency meetings for victims

The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) involves a number of local agencies, and meets to plan for the protection of victims of domestic abuse.

Multi-agency meetings to manage perpetrators

The NPS also leads, with the Police and Prisons, on the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, which plan for the release of serious offenders at the end of their sentence. Much of that work concentrates on keeping previous victims safe. A member of the National Probation Service Victim Contact Unit in Essex will be there to offer an opinion, and to put forward the views of the victim.

Have you been a victim of serious crime?

The Essex NPS Victim Contact Unit will be in touch with you within a short period after the perpetrator is sentenced, to see if you would like a face-to-face visit (this is your choice).

They will:

  • Check if you have immediate concerns about the offender’s behaviour towards you
  • Explain what happens to the information you give to the Victim Contact Scheme
  • Provide information about the criminal justice process and the way prisons and secure hospitals operate
  • Explain what the offender’s sentence means and how decisions are made about how long the offender stays in prison or hospital
  • Ask if you would like to be kept informed of key developments during the offender’s sentence (for example, when a prisoner is moved to a different category prison or hospital)
  • Discuss safeguards available after an offender’s release
  • Provide information about other services you may find useful in your local area

If you want to keep in contact with an officer, he or she can:

  • Explain how you may put forward your views about the conditions you think should be placed on the offender when eventually released from prison or hospital. This may include a condition not to contact you or your family.
  • Tell you when the offender is being released and any conditions that relate to you.
  • Keep in touch with you while the offender is supervised in the community and inform you when the offender’s supervision is coming to an end.

Womens’ Safety Officers

Past female intimate partners who were either the victim of the offence or also at risk are contacted and offered a service by Womens’ Safety Officers, which includes:

  • Help with future planning
  • Information on the perpetrator programme and realistic expectation of the changes it may bring about
  • Information on any changes in the offender’s sentence or supervision which could affect her
  • Advice on other services which exist for longer-term or specialist help and support

Essex NPS works closely with the Police Victims Specialists to ensure victim safety in these cases.