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VKPP launch new Voice of the Victim research projects

“Trust and confidence begins and ends with how policing engages with the victim, how we really listen and respond to support and safeguard that person.” Ian Critchley QPM – National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Child Protection.

The VKPP have now launched two ground-breaking reports that explore how policing understands the ‘voice of the victim’. This is the first known research project to hear directly from those working in policing, to know what helps or hinders them in prioritising, hearing and responding to it.

What is meant by voice of the victim?

  • We use the term ‘voice of the victim’ to include a broader understanding of victims’ and witnesses’ experience of policing. So, not just the ‘voice’ of victims/witnesses but their wider experience of engagement with police and the care they .

Why does voice of the victim matter?

  • The voice and experience of victims is central to the work of policing. Understanding how police listen and respond to the ‘voice of the victim’ is key to improving services; a foundation stone in building trust and confidence more broadly.
  • In policing we know that we need to do more to meet expectations, especially when supporting vulnerable victims.
  • Understanding and improving voice of the victim can both inform and support ongoing work in policing to reduce attrition rates in vulnerability cases, especially in relation to victim withdrawal from investigations and cases.
  • Our findings provide key insights into how outcomes and victim satisfaction can be improved.

Recommendations have been informed by the findings from the national survey, interviews and focus group, and consultations. They include:

  • Policing needs to define and prioritise the ‘voice of the victim’ within overarching force priorities alongside policies, strategic planning, and performance measurement.
  • Personnel need ongoing support to develop the appropriate skills, and critically the ‘softer’ skills and confidence to successfully engage with a diverse range of victims.
  • Forces should adopt a trauma-informed lens on their engagement with victims.
  • Forces should foster a culture of support to manage thresholds of acceptability when they are engaging with complex cases so they can still respond appropriately to vulnerability.

For those in forces tasked with actioning the recommendations we will also be providing resources, guidance and support, via our website Ongoing work driven by the VKPP and the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Taskforce will also support how the recommendations can be addressed.

NPPC Lead for Child Protection, Ian Critchley QPM said “Victims and victim-survivors are at the centre of everything we do. This work supports policing to make positive change in how it understands and responds to the voice and experience of victims. While we can never take that abuse away from victims, what we can do is give them hope in terms of the path forward by treating them with care, with respect, through showing belief, and by truly listening to the victim voice.”

VKPP Head of Research and Review, Dr Debbie Allnock said: “This research, which hears directly from police officers and staff, gives us insight into some of the challenges policing face.  But importantly it offers some real opportunities to support the police service to take concrete and meaningful steps towards improving victim-survivors’ experiences through what is a traumatising time for them.“

The Reports

Voice of the Victim I – Victims’ Voices and Experiences in Response and Investigation: A Study of Police Personnel in England and Wales in Responding to Vulnerability-Related Risk and Harm

This first study examines policing perspectives on their direct engagement with victims in both response and investigation. It considers how capability, opportunity and motivational factors can impact on police approaches to voice of the victim.

Voice of the Victim II – The Voice of the Victim in Police Service Design

The second study maps a more strategic view of how some forces engage with victim-survivors to improve overall design of services, better meeting the needs of victims.

The research takes an evidence-led approach to explore where and how improvements can be made across forces.

Read reports in full
Victims’ Voices and Experiences in Response and Investigation

 Voice of the Victim in Police Service and Design