Reducing the effects of crime
Our experience suggests that most people find it extremely helpful to talk about any feelings such as shock, anger and distress following a crime. Victim Support volunteers are trained to listen in a constructive way and to provide reassurance that these feelings are normal, and even healthy. Being able to share and validate the often strong reactions following a crime can help to reduce the length of time people feel frightened or angry.
Victim Support does not describe itself as a 'counselling' service. Rather, we provide emotional support coupled with information and practical assistance. We believe that all these elements must be offered if we are to provide a comprehensive service to victims and witnesses.
One of the reasons why Victim Support chooses not to use the term 'counselling' is because it may suggest to some people that the problem lies with the victim's personality, lifestyle etc, rather than the fact that they need help and support to deal with their understandable reactions to a distressing event. Therefore, the label 'counselling' can be unhelpful and might even prevent some individuals from seeking help.
Victim Support volunteers do, however, use a range of counselling skills, like active listening and positive reinforcement. Some volunteers are also trained counsellors, independent of their role with Victim Support.
All Victim Support volunteers are trained to recognise when an individual might be in need of more specialist help. Volunteers can refer individuals on to other organisations and will have a very good local knowledge of the types of help that are available.
Volunteers are also trained to provide information about how property can be repaired or replaced and how compensation might be claimed, both from private insurance and from public sources, as well as ways in which further crimes may be prevented in future.
Victim Support volunteers can also act as advocates, guiding victims through the array of criminal justice and other procedures and accompanying them when necessary - for example, on visits to the police station or hospital.
(c) Victim Support
This page was last revised:148/06/01
Victim Support National Office, Cranmer House, 39 Brixton Road, London SW9 6DZ.
Tel. 020 7735 9166, fax 020 7582 5712, firstname.lastname@example.org