Young victims of crime in South Yorkshire will receive vital services thanks to a £300,000 cash boost.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, has provided Victim Support South Yorkshire with the grant which will be spent over the next three years.
The money will provide better support for young people who are victims of crime or witnesses to it.
And some of the grant will be used to set up a new Young Witness Service, allowing children and young people under 18 to access a free, independent and confidential service.
Run by trained staff and volunteers, the service will help support children and young people and their parents/carers before, during and after any trial, so that they can give the best evidence to the court and reduce any further trauma caused by their experience.
This service will be available to young witnesses in all categories of crime in all of the crown, magistrates’ and youth courts in South Yorkshire.
But, as Commissioner Wright explained, the immediate priority will be for young victims of sexual exploitation, violence or abuse.
He said this week: “When I was elected commissioner I said that one of my key priorities was to help the most vulnerable in society, especially children.”
“This service will provide much needed help to those very people.”
“Crimes committed against children and young people – particularly sexual crimes – are abhorrent.”
“Whilst providing additional resources to South Yorkshire Police to prevent such crimes and to bring to swift justice those who commit such offences, I also want to help support those who fall prey to such crime, and to help them not only to give their evidence but to support them in rebuilding their lives”.
Some of the £300,000 grant will also be used to fund victim case workers who will provide practical and emotional support to vulnerable victims of crime, including domestic and sexual abuse, hate crime and anti-social behaviour.
The case workers will work closely with the police and other agencies to address gaps and delays in services.