Tackling crime and victim support
Often people access our service when they are at their most vulnerable and have nowhere else to turn. Citizens Advice Greater Manchester is currently running a pilot scheme to provide legal and financial advice for vulnerable victims of crime across the region. Our advisors offer free, sensitive and confidential support to victims including those who have been subject to domestic abuse – including violence, financial and emotional abuse – and hate crimes. We tackle issues holistically, bringing the right legal and financial aid around the individual and family unit.
Safeguarding is at the heart of our service, and we are currently introducing the ASK Routine Enquiry programme, which sees all our advisors trained to sensitively encourage early disclosure of such crimes. Our aim is to build the right support network that allows people to get their lives back on track. We are also playing a major role in tackling hidden and unreported crime. We make immigration a specialist area of support across Greater Manchester as our experience shows that immigration issues can also present underlying crimes that tend to be under-reported because of spousal or residency fears.
Help for dad of twins who lost wife
Paul* is the father of six-month-old twins whose mother tragically died in labour. Paul met his wife, who was British, when she was visiting the country he was from and moved to the UK after getting a ‘Spouse Visa’ and got work quickly.
After the death of his wife, he moved in with her family as he felt this was best for his daughters and would enable him to continue working.Unfortunately, the family became abusive and wanted to seek residence and control of the twins. Paul went to stay with his cousin and made a homelessness application.
Totally exhausted, he approached Citizens Advice Bolton looking for support with housing, benefits, community care and immigration issues.
Citizens Advice supported Paul to claim benefits he was entitled to including Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Bereavement Allowance so that he could take some time away from work to look after the twins.
The team also identified the relevant legislation around Paul’s immigration position and helped him apply to remain in the country and gain ‘regularised status’ to enable him to become eligible for social housing.
They now have a temporary home and enough income to live on. Paul’s employer has also kindly offered to keep his job open for a few months.
Citizen’s Advice will continue to work with Paul to secure more permanent accommodation in the long run.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.