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Press releases - Recent

You can view the following recent press releases on this page:


Your career in the voluntary sector could start at Victim Support

Rewarding. Unique. Challenging. Three words that describe the work of Victim Support, which helps people cope with the effects of crime and makes a difference to their lives. Could Victim Support help you change your life, too? If you are considering a career in the voluntary sector, find out more about work experience, volunteering and paid work at Victim Support at forum3 on 13 - 14 October. The national charity's trained and dedicated volunteers alone make up just over 80% of its workforce.

forum3 is a leading recruitment and volunteering event for the not-for-profit sector, attracting more than 15,000 visitors every year who are interested in areas including social work, youth work, fundraising, marketing and IT. Visitors to the event at the Business Design Centre in Islington can also get free CV checks and attend seminars to help them find their dream job. Entry is free and Victim Support has 300 tickets to give away - please contact John Taylor on 020 7896 3749.

Victim Support's staff and volunteers offer emotional support and practical help to victims in local communities, while the Witness Service helps witnesses, including children and young people, when they give evidence in court. For some people, a call to the Victim Supportline is their first chance to ask for help, or to talk to someone about how the crime has affected them. At Victim Support, everyone's experience - and every working day - is different.

During her time as a volunteer, Anna supported victims of sexual violence, before becoming the manager of a Witness Service in the local court. She now works at Victim Support London, where she advises criminal justice agencies on victims' issues. She says: "As a Victim Support volunteer, I was able to help people regain their self-esteem and confidence, which was very fulfilling. I now work for the organisation and have undergone training in victim care and have learnt a lot about the criminal justice system. I learn new things every day and it feels like I'm making a difference".

Victim Support will be at stand F21 at forum3, where you can talk to staff from its community-based branches, the Witness Service and Victim Supportline.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media & PR Officer, Victim Support, 020 7896 3750

Lucy Winter, Media & PR Manager, Victim Support, 020 7896 3726.

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Buy a card to help victims of crime

When you send Victim Support's charity Christmas cards to your family and friends, you're doing more than sending festive greetings - you're also showing your support for victims of crime.

This year's range of cards includes traditional and modern designs to suit everyone's taste, including the classic Frosted holly and the traditional Journey of the Magi. Children will love sending the colourful Spotty baubles to their friends, while grown-ups will appreciate The Christmas rush, which shows crowds shopping for last-minute bargains.

Terry Waite CBE, from Victim Support's Advisory Board, says: "Nobody wants to think about crime at Christmas, but it does happen and we know that burglaries increase during the festive season, which turn people's lives upside down. By buying Victim Support's cards, you're supporting the charity's work to help people cope with their experiences and get on with their lives, whatever crime they've suffered."

Hugh, who lives in west London and has been burgled twice, says: "When you're burgled, you wonder if you'll ever recover from it. I was very grateful to my Victim Support volunteer, who cut through the red tape and helped me sort out my home security. Without her, I would have been completely at a loss to know what to do."

Buying your cards is quick and easy - you can order by phone, fax, post or purchase online from Victim Support's website www.victimsupport.org where you can also view the collection and select your favourite cards.

Prices for a pack of eight or ten Christmas cards range from £2.50 to £3.80 - and wrapping paper is available for £3.75 for five sheets with matching gift tags. To place your order, go to www.victimsupport.org.uk or request a free brochure. To get more information about customised cards for personal use and businesses, please call Victim Support on 020 7896 3718.

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Hate crime under-reported, says new research

Victim Support exposes the impact of hate crime on its victims, and how these very damaging crimes are often not reported to the police, in a new report published today (16 August). The report, Crime and prejudice, focuses on the experience and support needs of people who suffered attacks because of their ethnic origin or sexual orientation[i], and is part of a £100,000 research programme, funded by Co-operative Insurance (CIS). It brings together evidence from in-depth interviews with 107 hate crime victims, a survey of and workshops with service providers, as well as a review of existing research.

The experience of hate crime can be life-changing. Being targeted for who you are sets hate crime and its effects apart from most other types of crime. Hate crime can have a deep impact on the victim's culture, identity and self-esteem. Victim Support helps around 30,000 people affected by racist crime alone each year, and numbers are rising.

The research found that hate crime victims suffered major damage to the quality of their life, including the loss of their home or business due to arson or vandalism, and deterioration of emotional well-being. Some even abandoned life outside the home: "I thought, if I was going to get harassed when I go out, then I'd rather stay inside. It got to the point where I stopped working and I started claiming benefits[ii]."

Worryingly, some victims said that they see abuse as part of daily life: "We are learning to cope with the abuse during weekends and holidays because this is the time when there is more abuse. There is really nothing I can do about it". Just over half of those interviewed suffered from ongoing victimisation. Many described living with the fear of repeat attacks: "It is just horrible ... I keep my mobile phone in my hand all the time, not in my pocket, so that I can call the police because I know they will attack me again".

Victims gave a number of reasons for not reporting the crime to the police. "... let's be perfectly blunt about it, there would be retaliation and I would get no support". Fear of going to court, concern about revenge attacks, and a lack of understanding from the police were significant factors in under-reporting.

Although awareness of hate crime is increasing, the research found evidence of police taking a 'there is nothing we can do' approach towards so-called low-level harassment, which over time has serious effects: "What affected me more was the attitude of the police officer, who took it so lightly".

Of those who did report the crime, only one in five felt that they were well supported by the police. However, where victims were dealt with by specialist police officers, they were seen as the most helpful source of support.

Victims surveyed wanted the police to be more communicative and more sympathetic, and to take hate crime seriously. "At least a number should be provided to contact the police, or a helpline ... I was going through five phone numbers, digging somewhere on the internet to find the Leeds Metropolitan Police contact number".

A common complaint was the lack of action on the part of the police, either to help solve problems or to pursue the perpetrator. Police were also criticised for poor communication - especially not informing on the progress of a case. Respondents often didn't know about third-party reporting[iii], which could contribute to the under-reporting of hate crimes.

When victims were asked what more could have been done for them, many called for greater awareness-raising, among young people in particular, as well as an increase in measures to tackle the causes of hate crime.

Key recommendations from the research are:

The report also suggests ways for Victim Support to improve its own service to victims of hate crime. These include increasing visibility and outreach, a 24 hour Supportline, improving referrals and a more personal service.

Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development at Victim Support said: "Hate crime symbolises all the worst aspects of prejudice. Our research shows that it has a more profoundly damaging effect on victims that is often not fully understood by the criminal justice system.

Hate crime damages whole communities, not just the individuals who are targeted. It makes people afraid that they might be the next victim and creates a climate of fear. We will be sharing the findings of this research with the police, CPS and other community groups to work together more effectively and improve our support for victims of hate crime. Through this research Victim Support has learned that we need to make our services more visible and accessible to the communities most at risk, but we need more funding to do this. The next step is to develop new guidance and training materials for our local branches and we are very grateful to CIS for funding this programme of work."

Chris Smith, Head of Community and Co-operative Affairs at the Co-operative Group said: "As an insurance company, CIS deals daily with victims of many types of crime. Supporting Victim Support with this research was important as we wanted to understand the breadth of hate crime, the issues facing service providers and, finally, to help make a difference for the victims. The Co-operative Group's values include social responsibility and caring for others. Our association with Victim Support is just one way that we are putting our values into practice for the benefit of minority groups in society."

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Buckingham, telephone 020 7896 3750, andrew.buckingham@victimsupport.org.uk
Lucy Winter, 020 7896 3726, lucy.winter@victimsupport.org.uk
Paul Fawcett, 020 7896 3803, mobile 07764 161147, paul.fawcett@victimsupport.org.uk

Co-operative Financial Services: Andy Hammerton, 0161 829 5489, andy.hammerton@cfs.co.uk


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Crime victims' helpline relies on Reliance to raise funds for new 'phones and volunteer training

A company that delivers a wide range of contracts on behalf of government agencies and police authorities, across the UK, has pledged to raise much-needed funds for Victim Support's national telephone helpline. Staff at Reliance Secure Task Management have chosen Victim Support as its nominated charity and are aiming to raise a total of £25,000 for the Victim Supportline by April 2007.

Last year, the helpline took around 12,000 calls, but three times that number went unanswered. The Supportline urgently needs extra funds to increase the number of 'phone lines, and more staff and volunteers to meet the need of the victims who cannot currently get through. Victims of crime, witnesses and their families and friends can call the Victim Supportline, in strict confidence, for information, emotional support and referral to their local branch of Victim Support to help them cope with what has happened to them.

Five Reliance area managers will be motivating their staff to raise the most money through fundraising events, such as a Motown music night, sponsoring local police officers to be locked in a cell for the night and auctioning an EastEnders photograph, signed by the whole cast.

Graham Lewis, Victim Supportline manager, said: "We're delighted that Reliance staff around the country are so keen to raise money for us. Ideally, we'd use the money to pay for an urgent upgrade of our telephone system, as well as recruiting and training more volunteers. With more volunteers here to take calls, we can make sure that more people can get the support they need".

Simon Marshall, Director of Operations at Reliance Secure Task Management said: "We're proud that our staff recognise the vital services that Victim Support provides for victims and witnesses. Both staff and managers have taken up the challenge to compete with each other to raise the most money for the Victim Supportline. We hope that, through their motivation and teamwork, they'll exceed the £25,000 target".

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Government and Victim Support pilot improved services for victims of crime

Victims of crime are set to benefit from a boost in help and support after Home Office Minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced a £1 million package to pilot new and enhanced victims services today.

The national charity Victim Support will run the pilots from its local branches in three areas - North Yorkshire, City of Nottingham and Salford in Greater Manchester.

The £1 million in new funding comes after the Government outlined plans for piloting enhanced victims services in its Green Paper, Rebuilding lives: supporting victims of crime, published in December. The pilots will provide improved, immediate and practical support tailored to victims' needs.

Gerry Sutcliffe said:

"I am delighted to announce the pilot sites today. We have consulted widely and worked closely with Victim Support to develop this initiative. I have seen at first hand how dedicated the staff and volunteers at Victim Support are and I am confident that together we will improve the support for victims of crime.

This Government has done more than any other to ensure victims' interests and needs are put at the heart of the criminal justice system. These pilots form part of our continuing work to rebalance the system in favour of victims and the law abiding majority. What remains clear, however, is that there is still more to do to encourage real public confidence in the work of the police, courts and prosecutors and I believe that these pilots will help us to achieve more in these areas."

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said:

"The pilot is a new project for us, and represents a commitment by the Government to improving support for victims and confidence in Victim Support to deliver this.

We believe that more can be done to enhance the services available for victims of crime, and are looking forward to working in close collaboration with the Government to build on this exciting initiative."

The pilots will ensure that the majority of victims are initially contacted by telephone, followed by an assessment of their needs. Victims will then be offered a 'menu' of services based on their needs, including practical help (for example the fitting of new locks or childcare), emotional support or counselling, installation of security devices and/or assistance with medical costs. Staff and volunteers will establish and oversee contact with relevant agencies on the victim's behalf.

As well as providing these new services to victims, the pilots will collect data to measure the demand and benefits of the new services, along with the longer term cost implications. They will provide an out-of-hours hotline for victims to complement the expansion of the existing Victim Supportline.

© Victim Support
http://www.victimsupport.org.uk
Page printed: 16 October 2019

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