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Voice of the Victim

“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 published 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.

Ian Critchley QPM - NPCC lead for Child Protection

Ian Critchley QPM - NPCC lead for Child Protection, Abuse and Investigation explains more about the Voice of the Victim project

Dr Debbie Allnock - Head of VKPP Research and Review

Dr Debbie Allnock talks about why the Voice of the Victim project really matters.

Hear from some of authors of the work

Sian Brown, Rachel Hurcombe and Milena Fernandes-Aguilera, some of the Voice of Victim authors, talk about their research.


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

Read full report - Voice of the Victim I

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

Read full report - Voice of the Victim II

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 projects are complementary, sharing important insights for strategic and operational police, identifying some of the key systemic challenges that need to be tackled to improve the way we positively engage with victims and victim-survivors to help us build and re-build trust with the community.   

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

 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 relational 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.

Ongoing work driven by the VKPP and the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Taskforce will also support how the recommendations can be addressed.

Should those in forces be tasked with actioning the recommendations, we will be providing resources, guidance and support. Please see below.