VICTIMS of crime in West Mercia have been benefitting from a new service, the Victim Advice Line, for one month now.

The line, known as VAL, is a free and confidential service for people who have been affected by crime in West Mercia

Police say it is already having a positive impact on victims and witnesses since its launch on April 1.

The team running the line has been designed to ensure that the needs of victims and witnesses are supported at every stage of their journey - whether they choose to report it to the police or not.

Staff have been working hard supporting those being referred, calling, emailing or using online chat as a way asking for support.

Matt Chester, head of victim services at the force, said: "Victims are at the heart of everything we do and West Mercia's Victim Advice Line is already demonstrating its value and benefits for victims of crime, helping them get the support, advice and information they need so they can, as best as possible, get on with their lives.

"We know that being a victim, witness or anyone else affected by crime can have a significant and lasting impact on their health and wellbeing and feelings of safety. Knowing where to turn, what to expect and what support is available can be daunting and confusing.

"The Victim Advice Line means you don't have to cope alone - our victim care coordinators will help you cope with the experience, get on the path to recovery by accessing the support you need, and be with you every step of the way."

In its first month, the line has received 5,093 referrals to the service and 2,392 victims have been directly contacted by a Victim Care Coordinator. The victim may have been contacted multiple times depending on the need of the victim."

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, who launched the new service, said: "It is fantastic to see the new victim service already helping so many people. This just shows how invaluable services like this can be, and why it's so important that help and support is available to anyone affected by crime.

"I hope that more people will continue to reach out so we can help them regain the confidence to carry on with their lives."

VAL is not just for victims of crime and witnesses but also people concerned about friends and family who have survived a crime and are living with it.

VAL is also working hard to support young victims of crime and the website has tips for parents and friends to be able to support a young victim.