A new home, amazing team and brilliant partners: why I love my role at Voice

By Fiona Campbell

A little background…

I worked for the Crown Prosecution Service for twenty-nine years, and during that time I was always very interested in the journeys taken through the criminal justice system by victims and witnesses. I was also on the commissioning board for SARC in Northamptonshire (which deals with victims of rape) and chaired the Northampton criminal justice board where we looked at the victim and witness journey.

My passion for this topic led me to apply for the role of Chief Executive at Voice, and I was delighted to be accepted in August 2017. To be able to work with such a fantastic team and ensure victims and witnesses of crime are offered the best support was a very exciting prospect.

A typical day for the Chief Exec

My days at Voice are incredibly varied. A lot of my time is spent ensuring we have the right resources in place to deal with the calls we encounter each day, but I’m also on a drive to make Voice a known entity in Northamptonshire.

I want people to know that we’re the people to turn to if you’ve been a victim or witness of crime, regardless of whether or not you’ve reported it to the police. This is a challenge, because people typically only come into contact with us or are made aware of the team’s existence when the worst happens. Despite this, at a time of need, people need to know which services they should turn to, which is why I’m investing a great deal of my time in promoting Voice.

Even if you haven’t been a victim of crime but perhaps know someone who has, I’d love for Voice to be at the back of your mind, because it’s a free and confidential service that’s open to anyone, no matter when or where the incident took place.

Moving to Warwick House

We’ve moved offices recently, and can now be found in Warwick House, on Northampton’s Billing Road. This has provided numerous benefits – not least the addition of a number of counselling rooms in which we can meet clients. It’s a nice, professional and welcoming environment that is perfect for people who have experienced trauma or crime.

We’re also having a live link installed, which will enable us to provide vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses with the facility to give their evidence from Warwick House to any court in the country (or, indeed, worldwide). That means they can provide their evidence in an environment that’s one step removed from the court, thus preventing them from potentially coming into contact with the offender or any of their friends and family. For many, this will offer a degree of comfort and make them feel safer, enabling them to give their best evidence.

The Warwick House move has of course been great for our staff, too, but the main priority for Voice is always to ensure we have the best facilities and most welcoming environment where we can meet our clients.

With a little help from our friends

Everybody has different needs after experiencing crime, and we offer various types of support depending on whether the person is a victim or witness.

For victims, we support them through the criminal justice system, but we also have a witness care team that assists witnesses who are called to give evidence in court. We can even arrange for people to visit the court prior to their appearance in order to get a feel for the room and lessen the impact of entering it on the day.

If a court visit isn’t required, we have specialist case workers who can support both victims and witnesses on practical and emotional levels.

Voice is split into four different branches that service adult victims and witnesses of crime, young victims and witnesses of crime, victims, witnesses and bereaved families of road harm and those who opt for restorative practices. We work with a number of partners to deliver these services, such as Trauma Assist specialist Trauma therapists, and the Sunflower Centre who deal with high risk domestic abuse victims. We also have access to the domestic abuse team in the Police, and share Warwick House with Northamptonshire Rape Crisis, which is very useful for both organisations when it comes to referrals.

Our new partnership with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is something we’re very proud of, too, because it will ease the referral process to our service for domestic abuse victims and help spread the word about Voice.

The support we have from our partners is fantastic, and enables us to offer the best possible service to our clients.

No pressure; only call us when you’re ready

If people are unsure about calling Voice, I’d always encourage them to pick up the phone whenever they feel ready. We don’t judge anyone, and it doesn’t matter how long ago the crime took place – our support is always available.

Our staff are very well trained and have a great deal of experience supporting victims and witnesses of crime. Anything we’re told is held in strict confidence, and the advice we offer is just that – we don’t force anyone into making decisions about the criminal justice process or reporting crimes to the police. If you feel ready to talk to our team, please do contact us – we’re here for you.

When I’m not at Voice…

Not many people know but I… love Game of Thrones and can’t wait for the final series

If I could watch one last film, it’d be… A Room With A View

The person I admire the most is… Matthew Bourne, he is a choreographer and is so talented, his ballets are amazing

If it’s my turn with the radio, I’ll tune to… Radio 2 (boring I know or so my daughter tells me!)

My favourite place on the Earth is… Kefalonia

What makes me truly happy is… cake