Together to help victims

Antisocial behaviour victim worker, Aaron Slater, victims' champion, Kirsty Swann, senior ASB officer, Julie Charles and Chief Inspector of Sunderland Area Command, Carol Parkes at the Antisocial Behaviour Matrix training day at the Marriott hotel in Seaburn.

Antisocial behaviour victim worker, Aaron Slater, victims' champion, Kirsty Swann, senior ASB officer, Julie Charles and Chief Inspector of Sunderland Area Command, Carol Parkes at the Antisocial Behaviour Matrix training day at the Marriott hotel in Seaburn.

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SUNDERLAND has become one of the first cities in the UK to take part in a new scheme to combat antisocial behaviour.

At a training day at the Marriott hotel in Seaburn, representatives from the police, Victim Support, social landlords and other groups, announced the Home Office-backed initiative.

The “Antisocial Behaviour Matrix” aims to identify and look after the most vulnerable victims and reduce crime. This will be achieved with different organisations working alongside those who suffer at the hands of yobs.

The training day was used for different groups to work together and learn from one another through guest speakers and workshops. It was organised by Sunderland Partnership’s Victims Champion, Kirsty Swann.

She said: “We want to make sure we’re meeting the victims’ needs, putting this into practice and becoming more victim focused than incident focused.

“By using this process, we are able to assist the victim and give them the support and protection they need.”

Chief Inspector Carol Parkes, from Sunderland Command Support, attended the meeting. She works closely with Sunderland Partnership.

She said: “What we have been working towards over the past 10 months is to improve the lives of the victims.

“Antisocial behaviour might seem very trivial on the face of it, but it can make people afraid to go out of the house.

“We’re trying to come up with things to improve quality of life. Families who cause anti-social behaviour can be victims themselves.”

Representing victims were “Community Crimefighters,” John and Eileen Davison who gave a presentation on their experiences.

Mr Davison said: “One of the first reactions on becoming a victim is that feeling of being on your own and not sure of who to go to.

“Once you know you are not on your own, and that there are people who can help, then you can begin to feel safer and secure and more able to take control of things again.

“We’re here because it’s proven that working together can help to overcome antisocial behaviour, but we aren’t waving a magic wand. It needs hard work.”