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From 0 to 30 - a short history of Victim Support

If you were a victim of crime before the 1950s, you would have had very little to do with the criminal justice system, other than reporting the incident to the police or as a witness. You would not have had any personal rights as a victim or any guarantee of support.

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In the 1950s, Margery Fry, a social reformer, ran a personal campaign to highlight what it was like to be a victim of crime and to demand compensation for victims. Her work resulted in the setting up of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in 1964. But even then, little was known about the personal experiences of victims and witnesses and there was little interest.

Then in 1972 a group of people in Bristol, including members of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), the police and Probation Service set up the first Victim Support project. They set out to find out what victims needed and they discovered that they faced significant emotional, practical and financial problems, but that no statutory agency was taking responsibility for helping them.

Two years later, the first Victim Support group was set up in Bristol. Other groups soon followed around the UK. The 'umbrella body' - the National Association of Victims Support Schemes - was formed in 1979.

"The police referred me to Victim Support to help me cope with a sexual assault. I felt I could call my volunteer at any time. I don't think I would have got through it, so I can't praise Victim Support enough. You're a fantastic group of people." Jane, Oxford
"In Japan we have now organised a national network of 32 voluntary victim support schemes. We offer you best wishes for your continued success." Masao Okumura, Victim Support Japan

© Victim Support
Page printed: 16 October 2019

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