How we help: emotional support
Talking to one of our volunteers helps many victims and witnesses cope and move forward
While some people describe what we do as counselling that is not quite right. Instead we call the work we do to help victims and witnesses to cope ‘emotional support’. Counselling is a very specific type of therapy done only by highly qualified professionals and looking at lots of different aspects of a person’s life. That’s not something most victims of crime need – usually they just need some help to deal with the emotional turmoil caused by being a victim.
What we do is similar to counselling, but not the same. Where we think a victim does need full counselling, for example with problems such as post traumatic stress disorder, we can help to arrange it.
Our volunteers are trained to listen, give information and feedback. They help people make sense of what they’ve been through, tell them about choices they can make and help them feel like they are getting their lives under control again.
Talking to one of our volunteers gives victims and witnesses the chance to get things off their chest. While many people can do this with friends and family, that doesn’t work for everyone, especially if those around them are affected by the crime too. Our volunteers provide a safe place for people to offload their fears, worries and emotions. This helps a lot of victims and witnesses to cope and to move forward.
And because most of our helpers are volunteers, the simple fact that they are prepared to turn up and listen shows victims that while another person has hurt them, other people want to help. This gesture of kindness and support does a lot to repair the harm that crime does to people’s confidence and peace of mind.
Emotional support for witnesses too
Going to court can be an intimidating, even scary experience. As well as being in the same place as the accused, their friends and family, you might have to face difficult cross-examination from a lawyer. Giving evidence can also mean having to talk about difficult and painful experiences that you'd rather forget. Our Witness Service volunteers can help support you emotionally both before and after the trial.