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, whether or not a crime has been reported.
Each year Victim Support Northern Ireland offers help to almost 50,000 people who have been affected by crime.
Help for victims
We provide help through a network of local branches across the whole of Northern Ireland. Staff and volunteers in these branches offer emotional support, information and practical help to people who have suffered crimes ranging from burglary to the murder of a relative, in confidence. They can provide:
- information on police and court procedure
- liaison with other organisations on your behalf
- advice and information on compensation and insurance matters
- contact with other sources of help.
If you would like to use our services, please contact us - details of our offices and branches are available on our website.
Victim Support can also arrange for a volunteer to accompany you to the police station and to court.
If you prefer, you can contact Victim Support's national telephone supportline - Victim Supportline - on 0845 30 30 900.
Help for witnesses
For many witnesses and victims, going to court can be a frightening and bewildering experience.
Victim Support 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. Where children are witnesses, the NSPCC are the lead agency for service provision, and do this in partnership with Victim Support.
By April 2005, adult witnesses in any of the criminal courts in Northern Ireland will be able to receive help.
The Witness Service can offer:
- someone to talk to in confidence
- a visit to the court and where possible, a look round a court room before you are called as a witness
- information on court procedures
- a quiet place to wait before and during the hearing
- someone to accompany you into the court room when giving evidence
- practical help, for example, with expense forms
- to put you in touch with people who can answer specific questions about the case (the Witness Service cannot discuss evidence or offer legal advice)
- a chance to talk over the case when it has ended and to get more help or information.