ONE of the priorities that I set for Wiltshire Police and my office is to put victims, witnesses and communities at the heart of everything we do.

Crime can have a deep and lasting impact on victims and witnesses and I am absolutely committed to ensuring that they receive tailored support for their individual needs.

Earlier this year, I commissioned an innovative service that provides bespoke support to young victims of crime.

The Young Victims of Crime Service (YVC) provides young victims with age-appropriate support in the form of coaching, family counselling, group activities like mountain biking and the opportunity to become peer mentors.

By enabling young people to come to terms with what has happened and support them in moving past it, YVC helps to address the gap in support that can see some young victims of crime later become offenders themselves.

Launched in April 2019, the YVC service is run by Community First, a Wiltshire based charity and in the first six months more than 200 young people have benefitted from the service.

I have made an initial commitment of £104,000 a year for the programme, funded by the Ministry of Justice grant for victim services.

For a number of years, Community First has run a programme called Splash for young people facing challenges in their lives and this additional funding from my office means that young victims of crime can receive personalised support and access the service through a dedicated victim referral route.

Through the programme, young victims are also supported through a restorative justice process if appropriate where a two-way conversation is facilitated with the offender to enable the victim to talk about the impact of the crime committed against them.

Each young person on the programme has a dedicated youth support worker to support and encourage them through the process.

It was clear that a one-size-fits-all approach wasn't the best way to support some of the most vulnerable victims and this programme helps them recover from the crime committed against them, regain their self-confidence and stops one negative experience from turning into another.

It is so important to me that our young people are given the very best opportunities and early intervention and support programmes such as this play a key role in helping them make good decisions and help prevent them from engaging in criminal activity or being exploited later on.

Victim services are available to victims regardless of whether they make a police report or not. Whilst I would always encourage people to report crime to the police, I recognise that sometimes they may not feel able.

You can find out more by visiting and my message is clear to anyone affected by crime, there is support available and you do not have to face this alone.