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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 a half million people affected by crime each year and we could not do this without our 10,000 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, Wales and Northern Ireland providing support to victims and witnesses.

Community-based volunteering

Local volunteers are trained 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.

Volunteers normally visit people in their homes 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 actual hours can be flexible and can include weekends and evenings.

Witness Service volunteering

Going to court can be a stressful and bewildering experience, both for the victim and their families, and for witnesses called to give evidence. Witness Service volunteers give emotional support and practical information to people attending court. The work includes: offering witnesses a chance to visit the court before giving evidence; explaining court procedures; accompanying a victim or witness into the courtroom, and giving the chance to talk over the case when it has ended. 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 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 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?

Anyone aged 18 or over can apply to become a Victim Support volunteer.

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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?

Contact details are provided for people interested in volunteering. Some of our volunteering opportunities are also listed in the jobs section.

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© Victim Support
Company number: 2158780 Registered in England. Limited by guarantee.
Registered charity number: 298028
http://www.victimsupport.org.uk
Page printed: 11 August 2019

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