Victim Support Caseworkers recruited to help vulnerable hit by fraud

09/01/2017

Vulnerable fraud victims across Sussex will receive emotional and practical support from two new Victim Support Caseworkers funded by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.

The appointments come as fraud against vulnerable victims increases nationally leaving many affected older people both emotionally and financially devastated.

The elderly are often most susceptible to fraud and here in Sussex, over a period of three months last summer, high risk victims lost an average of £23,000 – equivalent to approximately one year in a care home.

The Commissioner acted to recruit the new posts after establishing that extra support was needed to help the most vulnerable. The case workers have started working following intense training from both Victim Support and the team behind Sussex Police’s anti-fraud drive Operation Signature.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:
“I welcome these two much-needed appointments because fraud against the vulnerable, who are often older residents, in Sussex is rising at an alarming rate. Sadly, when a possible victim is identified their details are often shared with other criminals and so they are at risk of being re-targeted.

“A key part of these two new roles will be to firstly offer emotional support and then practical help that may include telephone call blocking technology to screen out unwanted calls.

“Criminals are now targeting people in their homes rather than on the streets. They are grooming our vulnerable, our lonely and often elderly residents robbing them of their life savings and potentially the ability to look after themselves.

“Whilst I am committed to supporting victims in Sussex, I believe we also need co-ordinated national action to raise awareness of fraud, and introduce tougher sanctions for those who systematically target our elderly.

“It is important that we all understand that scams are fraud and fraud is crime.”

East Sussex Victim Support Caseworker Sarah Croucher said:
“We are going to be going out and visiting people who have been highlighted as slightly more vulnerable and needing that bit of extra support. We will go in and fit equipment, including call blocking kit, if needed and give that extra bit of support and linking in with other services to make sure they are not victims again and re-targeted.”

West Sussex Victim Support Caseworker Lisa Mills said:
“I have been volunteering for Victim Support and the Red Cross previously and have been working with people that have vulnerabilities and other life changing issues as I think it’s a really important area to get into. I am looking forward to the challenge of developing this new role and helping vulnerable people.”

Victim Support in Sussex Senior Manager Becky Sharp said:
“We’re delighted to be working with Sussex Police’s Operation Signature team. We have recruited Sarah and Lisa to look after vulnerable victims of fraud. Both of those individuals are the type of person who will go in and give very good emotional support to those victims as well as practical advice and I know they are looking forward to getting going.”

Sussex Police Operation Signature Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer Bernadette Lawrie said:
“The impact of fraud on vulnerable people can go far beyond just financial so there are a lot of other implications which is why they need that additional support and enhanced prevention measures. These new posts are funded by the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner after we identified a need for an enhanced support service, particularly for vulnerable victims of fraud.”

Meet the case workers and hear more about the problem of fraud in this video.

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