Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens when I contact the Victim Gateway?
A :You can contact the victim Gateway in the first instance by phone, email, or via our website.
When you contact us, a member of our team will establish your preferred method of contact whether it be by phone, text or email. Regardless of which we will listen and talk to you about your experience; how it has affected you and what help you may need to recover. We will assess your support needs and provide you with advice or information to answer any immediate questions you may have. We can also allocate you with your own Victim Care Coordinator if needed who will provide you with both face to face practical and emotional support through this difficult time including attending court with you.
We recognise there will be times, other organisations are better placed to help you and if so, we can introduce you to them with your consent, all whilst ensuring appropriate confidentiality.
Q: What if no-one believes me?
A: At the Staffordshire Victim Gateway and Restorative Justice Service, we take all referrals into our service, both professional and self referral seriously, and we understand that not being believed, is probably one of the most painful positions to find yourself in, and one that needs safe & supportive attention.
When a referral is made to the Victim Gateway, we are led by you, and therefore we will offer both telephone and one-to-one support (should you need more intensive and personal support). We also acknowledge that your needs will differ and therefore we take pride in offering a very flexible and person centred approach.
Q: If my crime occurred in Staffordshire, but I live outside Staffordshire, can you still help me?
A: The Gateway unfortunately cannot provide a support service to victims of crime who live outside of the Staffordshire area, even if the crime was committed within Staffordshire; however, we will do our best to help you to find the relevant support within your local area; this may include also with national helpline information.
Q: I am homeless and a victim of crime. Can you support me?
A: Yes, all victims of crime are entitled to help under the Victim’s Code. The Gateway will also support victims who for whatever reason, have made the difficult decision not to report their experience to the Police but may still need support to help them come to terms with what has happened to them, regardless of when the crime or incident occured.
Q: If I don't report the crime to the police, can you still support me?
A: Yes, the Staffordshire Victim Gateway will respect and support all victims, who for whatever reason, have made the difficult decision not to report their experience to the Police; we understand you may still need support to help overcome what has happened to you, and will be led by your needs through the process.
Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: If you report a crime to the police, you will be asked to give a statement about what happened; this may be used as evidence in court. It may be some time before you know whether you’ll need to go to court (cases can take a long time to prepare). We know that the prospect of appearing in court, and the process that precedes it should you be required to, can be a confusing and daunting experience. We can help you prepare for this, and make sure that all the support and any special measures you need are in place to help you do this, as well as attend court with you, should you need our support.
Q: How do I get updates on my case with the police? Can you help me with this
A: It is a requirement of the police, under the Victims Code, that you are kept up to date and informed about the investigation. The police should keep you informed, it also stipulates how often you should receive these updates; for example, they should tell you within 5 days if the suspect is arrested, charged or released on bail, this should happen throughout the entire time and if you are required to attend court. We can support you, by listening and answering any questions or queries you may have along the way, as well as be there with you should you need to attend court or query what is happening with the case. You also have the right to contact the police regarding your case, and be kept up to date and informed about the investigation, which we can also support with.
Q: What happens once I report the crime to the police?
A: When you report a crime to the police, the police must give you written confirmation of the crime you have reported, a crime reference number and contact details of the officer dealing with your case. The police should also keep you informed with what will happen next, tell you how often you will get an update on the investigation, carry out a needs assessment to find out what support needs you may have, and ask you whether you would like support from the Staffordshire Victim Gateway & Restorative Justice service. We can support you if you need to contact the police regarding your case and answer any questions or concerns you may have through the process and after.
Q: I don't feel comfortable talking on the phone, are you able to talk to someone else on my behalf?
A: Yes, as long as we have your consent, we can support you by liasing and advocating on your behalf.
Q: How do I know you are a legitimate organisation when you call?
A: If you are unsure who we are when we call you can call Staffordshire Police to ask if we are legitimate. We will call with a withheld number or sometimes it shows as 01782 408000 (need to find out what the number is). However, when you call Staffordshire Police there is a statement whilst you are waiting that explains you will automatically be referred into the Staffordshire Victims Gateway and Restorative Justice Service and this will also be explained to you by the Staffordshire Police call taker. If you don’t want your details passing to us then you will need to make the Staffordshire Police call taker aware otherwise your details are automatically sent across to us shortly after you make the report. We will never ask for personal details such as your passwords, bank or pin numbers. We are part of Citizens Advice Stoke and North Staffs and are a registered charity. If you are concerned that you have received a telephone call or email, that you were not expecting, you can search for our organisations details on GOV.UK GOV.UK
Q: Can we meet in person?
A: We understand this is an extremely challenging time, and for many people, extremely isolating and overwhelming, especially if you have been affected by crime or continue to live with abuse. Due to Covid restrictions, we are doing everything we can to continue to support you, however, to ensure your safety, and that of our team, we are not arranging any face to face appointments until we feel it is safe to do so, alongside government guidance; however we can support you in other ways, such as telephone, emails, text and video conferencing such as Microsoft Teams. We want to reassure you, we are here for you, and our service remains open every day of the year.
It’s nice to know we haven’t been forgotten about.