Thirty years after its foundation, Victim Support is now a household name. Its staff and volunteers continue to play an essential part in our communities and anyone whose life has been touched by crime knows there is a lifeline. We have contact with around one and a half million people every year, a fact which has given us the experience and expertise to influence policy makers at all levels.
As President of Victim Support, I am proud of our three decades of achievement; however we are also aware that there are a host of new challenges to be faced. We want to be able to continue to respond to the needs of victims and witnesses and this will require more resources. I hope that reading these booklets will inspire you to join us in helping Victim Support to continue its essential work into the future.
HRH The Princess Royal, President of Victim Support
Throughout the past 30 years, since the beginning of Victim Support, the organisation has developed and changed dramatically. From a single local initiative, we now have comprehensive victim services throughout the country, a Witness Service in every criminal court, and the Victim Supportline which is available for every victim of crime throughout the UK. Despite some major obstacles, we continue to go from strength to strength and have become a model for many other countries throughout the world.
Victim Support volunteers are the backbone of the organisation. Their capacity to respond to the needs of victims, often absorbing considerable human distress, is admired within and beyond the organisation, as well as being much appreciated by those they help.
Our partnerships with many other agencies are another reason why Victim Support has been so successful. We have, from our earliest beginnings, aimed to work in close co-operation with anyone who could contribute good services to victims and, more recently, to witnesses. Our partners extend well beyond the criminal justice system to other voluntary organisations, local government and local neighbourhood groups.
We are proud of the excellent relationships we have developed and the greatly enhanced services which these can provide to victims and witnesses. The experience and expertise we have developed has enabled us to make a unique contribution to the development of national policies and much of our policy agenda has now been accepted and adopted at government level.
The future poses many challenges, not least the familiar problem of static resources at a time when the demand for our services continues to grow. Victim Support continues to be ambitious about the improvements we can bring about, and the commitment and dedication within the organisation has never been greater. We hope to see even more dramatic improvements for both victims and witnesses, and for Victim Support, during the next 30 years.
Dame Helen Reeves DBE, Chief Executive