Lancashire Victim Services, the local support service for victims of crime in the county, has launched a live chat which is now available on their website lancashirevictimservices.org. The live chat offers people a new way to find out about the support available and to get the help and advice they may need.
Funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Victim Services offers emotional support and practical help following any type of crime with specialist services available for victims of domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, hate crime, and young victims up to the age of 18.
Paul Cartwright, Operations Manager for Lancashire Victim Services said: “Not everyone finds it easy to pick up the phone and speak to someone they don’t know. The chat offers people a different way to contact us to find out more about how we can help and they can do so anonymously if they prefer.
“The chat is proving popular already. During the first week we were able to support a victim of domestic abuse and secured a place in a local shelter for her. This happened within 24 hours of her using the chat to speak to one of our advisers online.
“Taking that first step to ask for support is difficult for many people and providing an additional way to do so which some people may find easier is a great step forward. People can still contact us over the phone, through our online form or via email but I hope that the option to use the live chat will give even more people the confidence to get in touch.”
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw added: “Over the past year Lancashire Victim Services received over 67,000 referrals from across the county.
“From speaking to victims I know just how much of a difference the service can make and what a positive impact it can have on people’s lives.
“Bringing the support online and offering a digital way for people to engage with the service directly is really positive. Anything we can do to make that first step easier for victims of crime is a step in the right direction and I would encourage anyone in need of support to get in touch with Lancashire Victim Services in whichever way they feel most comfortable.”
Lancashire Victim Services provides support across Lancashire from 4 Multi-Crime Hubs based in Accrington, Preston, Lancaster and Blackpool.
The new live chat is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Anyone affected by crime can contact Lancashire Victim Services by accessing the web chat at lancashirvictimservices.org, by calling 0300 323 0085 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.