THOUSANDS of crime victims are missing out on vital support, says a body set up to help them.

County Durham's volunteer-run Victim Support says many organisations are turning a blind eye to the plight of victims.

The claim echoes a report by Victim Support's national organisation, which calls for major improvements to the help available.

Last year, 5,000 victims of crime received visits from Victim Support volunteers, 2,500 received phone calls and 7,500 were contacted by letter.

Area manager Trudi Ranson said: "All too often the people we help come up against the failure and lack of understanding from other public organisations that should be helping.

"Too many agencies turn a blind eye to the impact of crime on a victim's health, employment, housing, finance and education. The effects of crime are a problem for society as a whole.

"It is time all public services acknowledged their shared responsibility for helping people to cope," said Ms Ranson.

The national report said there had been improvements in services available in the criminal justice system for victims, but it claims 96 per cent of victims get no help other than that given by Victim Support.

It highlights problems such as the need to ensure landlords provide safe and secure accommodation, the stopping of benefit of people who get criminal injuries compensation, and a lack of measures to make insurance affordable for people on low incomes