Registered Charity No. 1164578
“Whoever the victim, and whatever the crime, we will always put them first and give the best possible support, care and advice”

Meet the Team

Victims First Northumbria Team

We have a dedicated team of Victim Care Co-ordinators who are all trained in supporting victims of crime based on their individual needs. We are skilled and empathetic listeners and if we identify that additional specialist support is needed we can connect you to the right organisation to meet your cope and recovery needs.

All support is free, confidential and independent. You dont have to have reported the incident to the Police to recieve support from Victims First Northumbria and we can help with all kinds of things from practical and emotional support, to support through court and beyond, access to restorative choice and options and anything else we can help with to help empower you to cope, recover and move on.

 

All of our staff recieve training in safeguarding for adults and children, domestic abuse, equality and diversity, risk assessment and data protection as standard 

The Board of Trustees

The board is responsible for the overall governance of Victims First Northumbria and takes care of our policy, strategy, direction and forward planning. Our Trustees are all volunteers with a broad range of skills, experience and personal qualities.

David Taylor : Board Member - Treasurer

David Taylor

Board Member - Treasurer

David joined the Board of Trustees in April 2018 as Treasurer.

 David joined a big 4 accounting firm in 2000 after completing a law degree at the University of Newcastle.  He has remained at the firm and currently acts as a Director leading external audit engagements. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.  He has gained significant experience working with clients across both the private and public sector.

 David is passionate about the North East and ensuring that those who are a victims of crime in the region are provided with access to appropriate support. On joining the board has focused on helping Victims First Northumbria develop its financial governance framework.

Peter Walls : Board Member Human Resources

Peter Walls

Board Member Human Resources

Peter has spent 45 years in the housing sector. During his career he was employed by Sunderland City council where he became Director of Housing and Public Health. He left to become Group Chief Executive of Sunderland Housing Group having created a group of local companies set up to improve the Council’s 38000 council houses.

The companies were created to address the shortage of public funding for essential improvements and £500m private investment was raised to improve the tenants homes in Sunderland.  The group changed its name to Gentoo which went on to invest over £1bn in Sunderland between 2001 and 2014.

During his career Peter was Chair of Two Castle Housing Association and had the privilege to have met the Princess Royal when she opened a sheltered scheme for elderly residents in Carlisle in 1987. Peter has also been Chair of the Northern Consortium of Housing and the Institute of Housing. He has been Wearside Businessman of the Year and Northeast Entrepreneur of the Year.

Peter was immensely proud to have been appointed as His Royal Highness Prince of Wales’ Business Ambassador for the North East in 2014. Peter is now semi-retired but is happy to use his considerable connectivity to assist worthy ventures.  He is married and has 5 children

 

Ruth Thompson OBE : Board Member Business Development

Ruth Thompson OBE

Board Member Business Development

Ruth is an experienced non-executive director, including economic development, energy, higher education, health, and charity sectors. A solicitor by profession, she began her career in local government, including adviser to Tyne & Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority. She joined the energy industry to become Regional Solicitor for Northern Gas, then changed career to become Network Director of Transco plc and later Group Corporate Affairs Director of National Grid plc, dealing with UK and EU public policy and communications across the UK and USA.  She was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to New Deal.

By Royal appointment, she was High Sheriff for the County of Tyne and Wear 2014/15 when she worked extensively with those engaged in the administration of justice, business, public service as well as the charity and voluntary sectors: in addition, she specifically devoted her year in office to raising awareness of the impact of domestic violence and abuse on children and young people and supporting those working to help them.

Chief Constable Winton Keenen : Board Member

Chief Constable Winton Keenen

Board Member

Winton Keenen is the Chief Constable of Northumbria Police.  His policing career commenced in 1985 when he joined Northumbria Police as a frontline Police Constable posted to Sunderland. Since then, he has had an extremely varied operational background, including being posted abroad. His expertise ranges from being a Strategic Firearms Commander to working in  Professional Standards, Force Intelligence, Organised Crime and Special Branch.

In 2003/4, he was posted to Iraq as the first Contingent Commander for the deployment of United Kingdom non-military police officers, acting a mentor to members of the Iraq Police Service.  While there he was appointed as the lead officer for a large, multi-national contingent of military and civilian personnel.

In October 2017, Winton Keenen was appointed as Acting Chief Constable for the Northumbria area which is the sixth largest force area in the country. In November 2017 he joined the Board of Trustees at Victims First Northumbria bringing with him a wealth of experience and passion to deliver outstanding policing and victim care.  Winton has served as a Police Officer in Northumbria Police for over 30 years and continues to be dedicated to the role.

Janet Guy : Board Member Performance

Janet Guy

Board Member Performance

Over the past 15 years Janet has worked at a board level within the public sector. In addition to working in a variety of voluntary organisations, Janet has gained experience in the field of corporate governance in Health, Policing, Probation and Education.

Janet has led a successful professional career as a solicitor practising in Northumberland and North Tyneside, initially in family and criminal law but has more recently engaged in probate, wills and trusts.

At present, Janet sits as an independent member on the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel, and scrutinises work carried out by the Police and Crime Commissioner of Northumbria. In addition to sitting as a lay member on disciplinary panels, her current position is now Lay Chair of the Clinical Commissioning Group in Northumberland.

Janet is passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable people and particularly those who become victims of crime.

Trustee Privacy Notice

We have staff who are trained in specialist areas, for example

Domestic Abuse

“As DV champion, i currently provide support to victims of domestic violence. I establish close links with other specialist Domestic Violence services. I will continually look to identify appropriate support to assist victims of DV to move forward and escape abusive relationships.”

Hate Crime

“I have extensive experience of dealing with clients who have experienced hate crime and with the families of these victims.  The issues surrounding communities suceptible to hate crime are often complex and I aim to provide support and direct them to appropriate support.”

Children and Young People

“I focus on victims of crime under the age of 18, including communication with families/carers. Individual support and outreach sessions are provided within the local community, schools and colleges to some of our most vulnerable members of society.”

Stalking & Harassment

“As stalking and harassment champion i am working on developing support for victims, looking at new ways to improve preventative measures and support options available”

As well as our victim care coordinators we have a team of trained volunteers who can provide support from anyone who needs a listening ear or to bridge any gaps between any other support commencing.

We believe it is important to survey staff about their development and in a recent staff survey, 85% of staff said they were very satisfied with their role.

Independant Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA’s)

Victims First Northumbria have 3 ISVAS who are all trained to support victims of serious sexual assaults and rape.

You dont have to have reported the incident to the Police to recieve support.

We also have a member of staff who is trained as a ChISVA –  A Childrens Independant Sexual Violence Advisor.

 

“The Sexual Violence Champion role focuses upon supporting individuals who have experienced sexual violence / abuse at any stage in their life. Support is individually tailored to provide practical and emotional support to empower victims to cope and recover from their experiences. As a qualified Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) within the Champion role, I am passionate about raising awareness of Sexual Violence throughout Northumbria and liaising with key partners to provide essential support to some of the most vulnerable individuals within our communities.”