MEMBERS of a support group for the victims of violent crime have hit out at the Government after it withdrew its backing.

For 14 years, the North-East Victims' Association (Neva) has hosted an event in South Shields, South Tyneside, to support parents of murdered children.

But next year's conference is in jeopardy because organisers are struggling to find £20,000 to fund it, and their cause has not been helped by the withdrawal of Government support.

David Hines set up Neva in 1992, after his daughter, Marie, 22, was murdered by former partner Anthony Davison.

He said: "I am sick of fighting for money. We have been neglected by the Government, who refused to back us."

Sharon Henderson, 40, whose daughter, Nikki Allan, was murdered, aged seven, on the Wear Garth estate, in Sunderland, 14 years ago, said: "The Home Office isn't willing to help fund its continuance, yet they continue to support criminals and their families without question."

Mrs Richardson, from Newcastle, said: "If you are an ex-offender, you get help with rehabilitation schemes, so what is wrong with helping the families of their victims?"

A Home Office spokesman said: "Although decisions about the Victims Fund beyond 2006-7 have not yet been taken, the longer-term indication is that it will be resourced from a victim surcharge on criminal convictions.

"Officials will ensure that the North of England is informed of the details."