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Perceptions of Victim Support Services in Derbyshire

This research is exploring the perception of engagement with victim services in Derbyshire.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Dr Tom Cockcroft
Police region
North East
Collaboration and partnership

The research is a collaboration between researchers at Leeds Beckett University and Nottingham Trent University and funded by. the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire.

Level of research
Professional/work based
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

This is research is being undertaken by academics at Leeds Beckett University (LBU) and Nottingham Trent University (NTU)with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire. The focus is on understanding engagement with, and perceptions of, victim services in the county.

The researchers will engage with members of the public, police and other stakeholders to explore perceptions of engagement with services for victims in Derbyshire. We are especially interested in exploring potential differentiation between different social groups or different geographical areas.

The following key questions have been developed for this proposal.

  1. What victim services infrastructure exists in Derbyshire? 

  2. What relevant policies/procedures inform police practices within Derbyshire? 

  3. What are victims’ experiences of engaging with such services?
    a. Do they feel such services are helpful? Why?
    b. Which services were considered helpful? Why?
    c. Which services were not considered helpful? Why?
    d. What motivated victims to engage with such services?
    e. What motivated victims not to engage with such services? 

  4. What are police officers’ experiences of directing victims of crime to victim services?
    a. Do police officers feel confident in their knowledge of which victim services exist in Derbyshire?
    b. Do they feel confident in their ability to signpost the relevant service to victims?
    c. What factors impact on police officers’ ability/inclination to signpost victims of crime to relevant services? For example, are officers influenced by the type of crime, the emotional state of the victim, the victim’s gender or their ethnicity?
    d. What could help make officers more confident in signposting of services? 

  5. Do members of different geographical communities within Derbyshire exhibit different opinions and behaviours in respect of engaging with victim services. If so, how can we account for these differences? 

  6. Would victims be more likely to engage with victim services if more digital platforms were provided through which to engage with or access them.

Research methodology

The methodology will incorporate a mixed methods design and draw on data generation methods that will lead to both qualitative and quantitative data.

We will generate new data using the following methods.


The research team will develop electronic and paper-based surveys to be distributed to members of the public to generate quantitative data in respect of the above questions.

Semi-structured interviews

The research team will develop interview schedules to be used with victims of crime, police officers and 3rd sector stakeholders to generate qualitative insights through thematic analysis. The number of interviews will be approximately 30.

Sampling, Participant Groups and Access to Participants

The focus of the proposed research presents some challenges in respect of creating samples, particularly in respect of conducting interviews amongst members of diverse communities who have experienced victimisation. Whilst accessing such groups in urban locations can be facilitated through third sector and local authority organisations, there can be difficulties with this approach when attempting to access harder to reach and rural locations.

Our primary approach would be to use Facebook posts on community group pages in particular geographical areas of Derbyshire to advertise the research and recruit participants.

A brief scoping exercise on Facebook shows that a number of community pages exist for each of the areas of Derbyshire:

  • High Peak
  • Derbyshire Dales
  • South Derbyshire
  • Erewash
  • Amber Valley
  • North East Derbyshire
  • Chesterfield
  • Bolsover
  • City of Derby

For example, ‘Ilkeston Life’, ‘Erewash Borough Council’, ‘Safer Erewash’, ‘Chesterfield Residents’, ‘Bolsover Community Action’ are all active pages serving particular geographically defined communities.

By advertising our research on such sites, we believe that we would be able to create initial traction for generating a sample, and that snowballing would generate further prospects. Furthermore, we believe that this approach would also potentially be used to generate the public sample for interview based research. This approach would also allow us to differentiate effectively between different geographical areas within the county.

Stakeholder involvement will be important to the project in respect of helping to generate a 360 degree appreciation of how victim services are perceived by a range of groups. For example, by working with third sector agencies, we would hope to be able to generate data regarding professionals’ views of services and how particular groups perceive them. Such engagement, furthermore, might provide insight into potential barriers to engagement with local services occasioned by membership of particular social categories.

We strongly believe that there is much potential value in engaging with police officers to understand the dynamics of engagement with victim service. We believe, therefore, that it would be helpful to understand how police officers interact with victims to potentially identify any differentiation in approach. At the same time, we need to understand which approaches resonate most positively with particular groups.

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