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About Victim Support

Victim Support Northern Ireland is the charity which helps people affected by crime. It is a completely independent organisation, offering a free and confidential service, irrespective of whether or not a crime has been reported.

How we work?

Each year Victim Support Northern Ireland offers help to almost 50,000 people who have been affected by crime.

This help is provided through a network of local Branches across the whole of Northern Ireland. Staff and volunteers within these Branches are trained to provide emotional support, information and practical help to people who have suffered the ranging from burglary to the murder of a relative.

Victim Support also runs a Witness Service, based in the Laganside Courts Complex in Belfast. Staff and volunteers are trained to provide support and information about the court process to witnesses, victims and their families, before, during and after the trial. By April 2005, adult witnesses in any of the criminal courts in Northern Ireland will be able to receive help.

People affected by crime can also contact the Victim Supportline - a national lo-call telephone number. Trained staff and volunteers offer support and information to victims and witnesses of crime in complete anonymity, and can put people in touch with local Victim Support services and other relevant organisations if required.

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Victim Support's aims and objectives

Victim Support has two primary objectives:

  • to provide support and assistance to individual victims, witnesses, their families and friends;
  • to raise public awareness and recognition of the and promote victim's rights.

By striving to meet these objectives we aim to provide a comprehensive, flexible service to reduce the .

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Victim Support's philosophy

The framework within which Victim Support operates is based on the following philosophy:

Free and confidential services

The services provided to victims of crime are free. Information about an individual, including whether a Branch or Witness Service knows that person, is held in confidence.

The victim decides

Victim Support respects the individual's right to make their own decisions. We believe it is our role to make sure that victims and witnesses have access to services if they want them, but not to tell people what they need or what they should do. We understand that people are individuals and will react to crime differently. Victim Support helps people to regain control of their lives following crime.

Equal opportunities

Victim Support aims to offer a service to all sections of the community and is committed to ensuring that minority and disadvantaged groups are welcomed and involved throughout the organisation.

Working with other agencies

Victim Support is a completely independent organisation, but as a community-based service it has close working relationships with a wide range of other voluntary and statutory services. Victim Support works in close co-operation with the police, the Northern Ireland Office, the probation service and others within the fields of criminal justice and social welfare in order to improve policies and practices regarding victims and witnesses of crime.

No statement on the treatment of offenders

Victim Support does not make public statements on the punishment and sentencing of offenders, except when discussing issues which directly involve the victim, for example compensation or protection.

Common standards

All Victim Support's services are run according to a nationally maintained Code of practice. This code is continually developed to ensure optimum services and national consistency. Victim Support welcomes comments and suggestions about the service provided for victims and witnesses of crime. We also operate a formal complaints procedures - details may be obtained from the Regional Office or from local Victim Support Branches or the Witness Services.

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How we are funded

Almost 50,000 people are referred to Victim Support Northern Ireland for help every year and many others contact us directly, whether or not they have chosen to report a crime. It is only possible for us to offer help to so many people because over 250 trained volunteers give freely of their time and energy to support victims of crime in their local community. The costs involved in the recruitment, training and day-to-day support we provide to this vast volunteer workforce are considerable.

Victim Support receives core funding from the Northern Ireland Office to deliver services to victims of crime and to contribute to the process of the development of Government policy towards victims. However, as an independent charity Victim Support must raise additional money to carry out its vital work. Money is raised through events, European Union funding programmes, trusts and foundations, and the Community Fund.

Although Victim Support is meeting the needs of so many people, there is much more we could do if only the funds were available. Areas of work for which we urgently need funds include:

  • developing our support services for children and young people who become victims of crime
  • raising awareness of our Supportline number and the help that is available, whether or not someone has reported a crime. This service is particularly important for victims of unreported crimes, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, race crime and stalking
  • the provision of practical information to help people who become victims of racial harassment and bullying and reassurance about the feelings they may experience following a crime
  • enhancing our training of volunteers to achieve the highest standards, consistently across the country

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©2002 Victim Support Northern Ireland

Victim Support Northern Ireland
Annsgate House, 70/74 Ann Street, Belfast BT1 4EH
Tel: 028 9024 4039
Fax: 02890 313838
e-mail: info@victimsupportni.org.uk