Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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Signpost's partnership with The Counselling Foundation sees over 100 across Bedfordshire supported in just five months
Bedfordshire PCC, Kathryn Holloway’s free counselling service for victims of crime has passed 100 referrals in only five months despite lockdown.

In June, Signpost - the service introduced by the Bedfordshire PCC to support victims and those affected by crime across the county – partnered with The Counselling Foundation to offer an opportunity to receive free counselling sessions to support their recovery. 

In just five months, The Counselling Foundation received 112 referrals from Signpost, along with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (OPCC) partner organisations. Of the referrals, 58% were made to support victims of Domestic Abuse with the remaining sessions covering crimes such as recent and historic Sexual Abuse, Physical Assault, Harassment, Burglary and Fraud.

“Why this has been so particularly impressive of course is that this new counselling arrangement was set up during a national emergency. I know from my national work representing policing across Covid strategy meetings that we may need to set up mental health provision for fifteen years to deal with the outcome of the pandemic alone but just imagine being a victim of crime during lockdown or having more time to reflect on horrendous abuse in your past? That’s why The Counselling Foundation started to work with my team and Signpost at exactly the right time.

“I couldn’t be more impressed by the work both they and our specialist Victim Care Coordinators have worked together during lockdown to offer absolutely free personal counselling support to some of those who need it most," said PCC Holloway.

Simon Powell, Head of Victim Care at Signpost, said: “During these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we reassure victims of crime, and their families where appropriate, that support is still available to help them cope with the impact of the crime and address, where possible, any long-term recovery needs.

“The services for victims commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner are working hard to ensure they can continue to offer their full support and we have been working closely with them all to find creative and innovative ways which allow us to continue to deliver essential services for victims of crime. We work very closely with The Counselling Foundation on a day to day basis and I'm pleased that so many people who have been in need of their support have been able to access it, despite the challenges the pandemic has presented us.”

Since the start of the partnership, The Counselling Foundation has seen a month on month increase in referrals and are now operating at capacity with the expectation that the sessions allocated to those in need of support will continue to run into the New Year. 

Helen Thomas, Clinical Manager in Luton for The Counselling Foundation, said: “The funding we received has enabled us to provide therapeutic support, within reasonably short timescales, for members of the Bedfordshire community throughout what has been particularly challenging time nationally and this has no doubt been made possible given the open and professional partnership fostered by the Signpost Team.

“The clients we see have experienced what are often extremely traumatic and emotionally challenging situations, and it is wonderful to be able to work together to provide such a valuable, much needed service.”

If you have been affected by a crime, Signpost offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether it has been reported to police or not and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred. Contact 0800 0282 887 or visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com for further information.