Victim support organisations play a vital role in helping victims and their families through the aftermath of a crime. The skills involved in this work range from being a good listener to understanding police investigation processes and the workings of the courts. These organisations rely heavily on volunteers, and this is one route into a permanent job.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Experience of working with vulnerable people
- Listening and communication skills
- Sensitivity and non-judgemental attitude
- Knowledge of legal and police processes
- Disclosure and barring check
- Age 18 and over
Look for a victim support service in your area. The Victim Support website has a directory of its centres around the UK. This is the main victim support organisation in the UK, but there are others that focus on specific areas such as Rape Crisis. (Resource 2)
Volunteer at Victim Support, or an altrnative agency. As the National Careers Service points out, victim care officers don't need formal qualifications and the majority find permanent roles through volunteering. You need to be at least 18 years of age for this volunteer role.
Apply online at the Victim Support website. Alternatively, you can print off the application form and post it. If you return your application by email, you will need to sign it in person when you visit the office for an interview.
Demonstrate experience in dealing with vulnerable people: working in counselling services or at Citizens Advice are examples of a relevant background. Victim Support may ask for two years volunteering experience.
Get a Disclosure and Barring check. This replaces the Criminal Records Bureau check. The majority of care work jobs require this. You can get your report from the Disclosure and Barring service: you need to supply them with a current passport and proof of address.
Undertake the training provided by Victim Support. The basic training covers an extensive range of topics. Volunteers may decide to specialise in areas such as homicide, hate crimes, sexual or domestic abuse, in which case they receive additional specialist training.
Apply for a permanent post after discussion with a manager about your readiness for a full-time position. Jobs are posted at centres and on the Victim Support website.
Tips and warnings
- A second language is useful, particularly in communities with a high ratio of non-English speakers.
- Victim Support operates an equality, diversity and inclusion policy and strategy. Volunteers from all sections of the community are welcome regardless of race, sexual orientation or disability.
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