Under Thames Valley Partnership, the Victims First Willow Project is commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to be the Thames Valley Wide Exploitation & Complex Needs Service working across the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire (inc Milton Keynes) and Oxfordshire; seeking to identify and support those individuals who are assessed as having been victims of exploitation or who are deemed to be at risk of exploitation through:
- Sexual Exploitation – forced sex work or working in the commercial sex industry (pornography, lap dancing, telephone lines etc.) ; those manipulated or coerced into sexual activities of any kind for another person’s gain
- Modern Slavery – human trafficking; forced labour; domestic servitude; organ harvesting;
- Financial Exploitation – debt bondage; finances controlled by others; financial scams; benefit fraud
- Criminal Exploitation – those manipulated or coerced or trafficked for the purpose of any illegal activity i.e., County Lines/drug trafficking; cuckooing (taking over of a person’s property); forced street crime (shoplifting, begging etc.); cannabis cultivation
- Cultural Exploitation – those manipulated or coerced using religious, social or cultural beliefs e.g., FGM, radicalisation, forced marriage
As well as supporting victims of Modern Slavery, trafficking and exploitation the service will provide much-needed specialist support for victims of other forms of serious crime (excluding sexual and domestic abuse for whom specialist services already exist).
The Victims First – Willow Project will provide prevention work, crisis intervention and ongoing long term support and work directly with victims of any age, their families and anyone else who may also be involved in the care and support of them including community groups and other services.
Our person-centred support focuses on the areas that are important to our clients. We encourage activities that will promote improvement in physical and mental health & wellbeing, developing daily living skills and coping strategies to enable each individual to live independently in their communities. This ranges from help with housing, benefits, immigration status, education & employment, assistance through court processes, advocating at meetings, to hospital visits and arranging food or clothes parcels, to offering a listening ear.
Our support for an individual is not time-limited, we provide it for as long as it is needed, rather than prescribing a length of time. This can range from one-off support, a few weeks, months or even years – simply put, as long as an individual needs our support we will be there for them and also act as a bridge to other support services. We believe this person-centred, long-term approach enables us to build relationships of trust with our clients that enables them to access the support they need, which in turn empowers them to begin to break the cycle of exploitation.
We pride ourselves on our staff and volunteers’ commitment to valuing and empowering the individual to seek new opportunities enabling them to make positive changes in their lives. This helps in reducing the risk of exploitation, or if they are already affected, allows us to break the cycle that they may find themselves in. We believe that our experience and expertise, coupled with our passion and heart for the exploited and vulnerable, ensures that the individual receives compassionate, holistic support and fills a much needed gap in a professional and caring way to those who are often overlooked or misunderstood.
If you wish to make a referral or just seek advice please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01844 487 987