Volunteering for Victim Support and the Witness Service

92% of our staff are volunteers

Why should I help?

Volunteers are crucial to the work of Victim Support. We offer help to around one and three quarter million people affected by crime each year and we could not do this without our thousands of local volunteers.

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What do our volunteers do?

Our volunteers help in the following ways.

Local Victim Support and Witness Service

We have a network of local branches across England and Wales supporting victims and witnesses.

Helping victims in the community

We train volunteers to give emotional support, information and practical help to people who have suffered the effects of all kinds of crime - from burglary to the murder of a relative.

Our volunteers normally visit people at home and help by allowing them to talk through their feelings about the crime. Volunteers also give information about any practical and personal issues, and help victims find their own ways to overcome the effects of the crime. If you are interested in this kind of work, you need to be available for at least two hours a week, although your actual hours can be flexible and can include weekends and evenings.

Helping witnesses at court

Going to court can be a stressful and bewildering experience, both for the victim and their families, and for witnesses called to give evidence. Our Witness Service volunteers give emotional support and practical information to people attending court. The work includes: showing witnesses around a court before giving evidence; explaining court procedures; accompanying a victim or witness into the courtroom; and giving the chance to talk over the case afterwards. To volunteer for the Witness Service, you need to be available on working days (Monday to Friday) for at least two full days a month.

Victim Supportline

Volunteers on our Victim Supportline take phone calls from victims of crime and give emotional support and information, as well as putting people in touch with their local Victim Support branch or other agencies that may be able to help. We give training in telephone skills and self-awareness, followed by a core training programme in working with victims of crime. We also give ongoing support and supervision. To be a volunteer on the Victim Supportline, we need you to work at least one four hour shift a week. The Supportline is based in South London.

Other ways of helping

You can help victims of crime in other ways, such as helping with the running of our offices, or assissting with publicity, fundraising, IT or interpreting.

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Are there any age limits?

For some areas of our work you need to be over 18. But we also want to hear from young people who are interested in volunteering with Victim Support as there are other ways for you to help.

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What do I have to do to become a Victim Support volunteer?

We have to carry out some basic checks to help ensure the safety of the people we work with, and our staff. Everyone who wants to volunteer to support victims and witnesses must give references and declare any criminal convictions they may have (both spent and unspent). We will also carry out a police check. Having a criminal record will not automatically exclude you from volunteering and the selection panel will carefully consider every person on their own merits.

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What training is needed?

You do not need any qualifications to become a Victim Support or Witness Service volunteer. Victim Support believes that many people have within them the ability to help victims and witnesses of crime. All volunteers involved in supporting victims and witnesses are given basic training which increases their awareness of the effects of crime; develops their listening skills; and provides relevant practical information, for example about police and court procedures.

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Who do I contact if I would like to volunteer?

Volunteering in your local area

Your local Victim Support office will be able to tell you about all the volunteering opportunities available in your area. Look in the contact us section to find your local Victim Support.

Supportline

To find out more about volunteering on the Supportline in London, please contact 020 7740 8291 or email us at:supportline@victimsupport.org.uk

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