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Victim Support, Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Victim Support is an independent charity for anyone who has been affected by crime or traumatic events in England and Wales. Victim Support Hampshire and Isle Of Wight works locally with individuals to provide emotional and practical help in order to allow them to recover from the effects of crime and get their lives back on track. The support is free and confidential, tailored to individual needs for as long as required. It does not matter what type of crime, how long ago it happened or whether or not it has been reported to the police.

4 January 2018
South East
Local Alliances:
Dementia Friendly Southampton (Southampton DAA), Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance, Isle of Wight Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

People living with dementia may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of crime, and may even be more likely to be victimised due to their vulnerability. Our role at VS HIOW is to ensure that those who access our services receive support which is appropriate, responsive and effective. We will need to work with other specialist organisations, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, to improve our knowledge and awareness of issues affecting those with dementia, and their carers. The crime specific support we provide can then be tailored to ensure it is beneficial. By raising awareness of dementia we will be better able to identify indicators of its presence (as we may well not know in advance of making contact) and adjust our interaction accordingly. Furthermore we acknowledge that a sizeable proportion of victims of crime do not contact the police and thus could not be referred to our service. The barriers that those with dementia may experience in reporting crime or accessing a service suggests greater work needs to be done to ensure they are aware of and can take advantage of our service. By upskilling our team we can be more able to identify the needs of this section of society when at community events and via collaborative working with other agencies, for example, and support them in accessing the service and the help they may require.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Due to our type of support, often via telephone, we would need to find appropriate methods to support individuals who may be living with dementia.  There may be a lack of information from the original referral, so our team would need to be sensitive and aware.  Being a busy service with changing staff means we would need to update this awareness regularly.  As our volunteers are spread across the county and face-to-face contact with them is sporadic, giving them updated messages about dementia friendly practices could be a challenge.



2. Actions

  • Have a designated Dementia Champion who can ensure the needs of those living with dementia are represented at local level.

    We will identify an individual who will act as our local dementia champion and who will receive the Dementia Champion training. This person will have responsibility for maintaining their own knowledge of dementia, act as a local point of information, able to signpost colleagues to expert sources on matters relating to dementia, maintain key contact list for accessing information or support where required, and apply their knowledge in a way that improves the ability of those living with dementia to access and benefit from VS’s services. For example, this may include talking to colleagues about the best way to converse with someone who has dementia or what local specialist support they may be able access.

  • Raise awareness of all staff and volunteers at Victim Support Hampshire & Isle of Wight of the needs of those living with dementia

    At VS we interact with a large and diverse group of people on a daily basis – a proportion of these are likely to be living with dementia. By raising awareness of our staff and volunteers via Dementia Friends information sessions (delivered by Dementia Champion) we want to give our team the confidence and skills to support these people in the most effective way. This may be by recognising where specialist support is required, helping carers and family members to reduce a person’s vulnerability to certain crimes, or by demonstrating greater patience and understanding in our interactions with people living with dementia. It is hoped this will allow a forum in which people can ask questions relating to how they can best support those living with dementia and promote deeper understanding of their needs. 

  • Apply knowledge of dementia to ensure local procedures recognise and take account of the needs of those living with dementia.

    We will review our local procedures to ensure they are dementia friendly. For example, much of our contact is by telephone so we will identify best practice about how to interact most effectively by telephone with someone living with dementia and apply the findings. We will also review our physical environment to ensure it is dementia friendly – both in our office and when we conduct face to face visits, e.g. ensuring appropriate lighting, noise levels, considering flooring and other environmental factors.