People urged to volunteer and make a difference to crime victims

A charity that supports victims of crime is appealing for volunteers in Renfrewshire as part of a new campaign.

Victim Support Scotland has launched a new campaign to recruit more than 200 new volunteers, as demand for support volunteers in a variety of roles increases following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

The campaign starts as national Volunteers’ Week 2021, which takes place from June 1-7, says thank you for the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering each year.

In March 2020, in response to Covid-19, the Scottish Government halted any new court trials going forward.

Following a phased re-opening, in September 2021, they will re-open fully in line with pre-pandemic levels.

With a significant backlog of cases, Victim Support Scotland, which has a base in Paisley, has been consistently vocal about its concerns of the negative impact this has had on the emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of people affected by crime throughout Scotland.

The charity is experiencing an increased demand for volunteers for a variety of roles in the Scottish courts, and in local communities, to provide support to victims and witnesses.

Volunteers in Victim Support Scotland services work across the country to provide dedicated and often long-term support, at the point of need, to victims and witnesses who need help in the aftermath of crime, whatever stage they are at.

Kate Wallace, chief executive of Victim Support Scotland, said: “We remain committed to supporting victims and witnesses of crime, aiding over 50,000 people up and down the country every year, and this number continues to grow.

“Volunteering at Victim Support Scotland is a unique opportunity.

“We depend on our volunteers to support people affected by crime when they most need it, empowering them to move forward with their lives.

“They do all this while learning new support skills, gaining experience of working within the criminal justice sector, and accessing a wide range of training opportunities.

“We offer a breadth of volunteering roles.

“If you are looking for a challenging yet rewarding experience with valuable training and development opportunities, I would urge you to consider joining us as a volunteer.”

Victim Support Scotland is the leading charity dedicated to helping people affected by crime across Scotland.

The charity supports victims of crime, witnesses and their family members and provides information, practical help, emotional support and guidance through the criminal justice system.

New volunteers will learn about the courts and the wider criminal justice system.

As part of Scotland’s dynamic third sector, volunteers will work with colleagues and partner organisations who are passionate about social justice.

Volunteers will undertake an extensive training programme and commit to eight hours per week.

Amanda Morrison, a Victim Support Scotland volunteer in Paisley, welcomed the campaign, saying: “As a result of the pandemic, it is more difficult than ever for people to move beyond a crime and delays are adding to their trauma of the process.

“Victims of crime are feeling isolated, remote and struggling to adjust following a crime and the impact is made worse by a lack of personal and social contact.

“I’ve gained valuable skills at Victim Support Scotland and have developed a real understanding of criminal justice and the experience of victims of crime and their journey through the system.

“The satisfaction I feel at the end of the day is second to none.

“I know I can’t take away the pain people feel but I can make their criminal justice journey easier.”

Daily Record – Paisley