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”

Victim Advisory Group

“It is important that we value the diversity of our community and to ensure accessibility to VFN for all. That is why I have developed the Victim Focus Group to ensure that the voice of the victim is heard and used to guide improvements to victim care. I am grateful to the people who are members of this group and have made a  valuable contribution to victim care within Northumbria. Their stories of courage and determination have inspired me and continue to drive what we do at VFN.”

To be a member of this group, contact us on 0800 011 3116 or

Role of the group

  • The role of the Victim Focus Group is to advise on the development and coordination of victim care at Victims First Northumbria.


  • To assist in developing and shaping the future of victim services within Victims First Northumbria.
  • Improving the victim experience by providing advice and feedback on the issues that impact on victim care.
  • Providing a forum to discuss the victim experience within the criminal justice process when involved in court proceedings.
  • To help guide improvements in the victim led approach to Restorative Justice.

Ways of Working

  • The group will meet 4 times per year at quarterly intervals.
  • Members of the group will be invited to propose agenda items and will receive papers one week in advance of the meetings.
  • Minutes of the meeting will be recorded and agreed by all members.
  • With consent, members may be contacted between meetings should the need arise to consult on victim matters.


  • Ruth Parker, CEO at Victims First Northumbria will chair the group meetings and will be supported by Michelle Anderson from VFN.
  • The remaining members will be service users or members of the public who have a lay interest in victim care.
  • Group membership will be reviewed on an annual basis and the opportunity to participate may be opened up to new people. Any rotation of membership will be planned to ensure continuity.
  • Advisors may be drawn from practitioners and services working on victim care within Northumbria and guest speakers may be invited to meetings when required.

Victim Focus Group

At the end of 2016, Victims First Northumbria created a Victim Focus Group to ensure that the voice of the victim is heard and used to guide improvements to victim care within our Northumbria area.  It is really important to me that we value the diversity within our community and ensure accessibility to VFN for all. That is why I invited service users who have been victims of crime and experienced the criminal justice process and members of minority groups. I am grateful to the members of the group for sharing their stories and it is hoped that their contribution to shaping future services will help their cope and recovery. Their stories of courage and determination have inspired me and continue to drive what we do.

Members were also consulted on the Northumbria Police and Crime Plan and their contributions to this were recognised.  Group members can see where their input has been noted and feel valued that their personal experiences are reflected in improvements to victim care.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this group or finding out more about the work we do, please contact us on 0800 011 3116 or via email at or

“When you become a victim of crime, your whole identity seems to shift almost overnight. Talking to police officers becomes your new ‘normal’. Safety is no longer something that is taken for granted or expected, and you find yourself starting to talk all the time in police words about ‘offences, perpetrators, witnesses’ and various legal jargon, because that’s what your world becomes limited and shrunk down to. You can begin to feel more and more isolated from a world and community that continues to go on around you like nothing has happened, yet for you *so much* is different. All you live is that crime in your head, over and over, so victim support becomes everything. No person should have to deal with this alone. Victims First Northumbria exist to step in and give you all the support you need to fill in the gaps that you can’t possibly fill in yourself. They’ll give you the boost of practical help, specialist knowledge, and all the emotional support you need to empower you and get you through this phase of disruption and upset. Once that’s all in place, you can start to rebuild your life again, brick-by-brick, with ever increasing hope and resilience. That’s what I’ve done, and VFN’s role is to make sure you’re able to do it too!”
Survivor of childhood abuse and sexual assault

Enquiry Form

Please note all calls from Victims First will be made from a withheld number.

You must provide either an email address or telephone number for a member of our team to get back in touch with you.

Please note you will be contacted within 48 hours