Organisational History

SAFE! Support for Young People Affected by Crime arose out of a concern for young people who have been victimised through crime or severe bullying.

Staff at Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service became worried that some young people weren't recovering from their experiences of being harmed, which was affecting their education, health, relationships and behaviour. There appeared to be a gap in provision for this age group both locally and nationally.

In 2009 Oxfordshire became one of five pilot schemes, tasked by the Home Office to find creative ways to support young victims of crime under the Youth Crime Action Plan. A consortium of different agencies was established to steer the project, which was launched by Sara Payne (then Victim Champion) in 2010. The five pilots were evaluated by York University, and Oxfordshire published both its course book for young people,'Why Me?', and a handbook of guidance, 'Are You Okay?', to disseminate good practice nationally.

Following the success of the Oxfordshire pilot, which won the 'My Choice' Award for Inclusion in 2010, further funding was provided by the Home Office and Oxfordshire County Council to enable the provision for young people affected by crime to continue.

In 2011 the project was established as the charity SAFE! Support for Young People Affected by Crime, which was launched at Thames Valley Police HQ by Sara Thornton, the Chief Constable. In 2011 the Ministry of Justice provided funding over three years for a part time Project Manager, and in 2012 Oxfordshire County Council provided a further grant to SAFE! in recognition that the support provided by SAFE! meets many of the council's targets for vulnerable young people. In 2014 SAFE! has begun to expand its work beyond Oxfordshire in the wider Thames Valley region, initially in Buckinghamshire and is working in Partnership with Thames Valley Police and Buckinghamshire County Council.

SAFE! continues to grow and develop, relying heavily on the generosity of individuals and grant-making trusts and charities. Most referrals relate to violent or sexual offences, and SAFE! recognises that the service is only reaching a tiny proportion of young people in need. The Trustees are grateful for any donation, large or small to help the work to continue.