History and achievements: How it all began
Victim Support is the oldest and largest organisation in the world dedicated to helping victims of crime and witnesses. We celebrated our 35th anniversary in 2009 and are proud to have inspired people all over the world to set up similar organisations to help people cope with crime.
If you were a victim of crime before the 1950s, you would have had
very little to do with the criminal justice system, except perhaps
telling the police or being called as a witness. You certainly wouldn’t
have had any personal rights as a victim or received dedicated support.
But in 1972 a group of people in Bristol, including some members
of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders
(now NACRO) along with others from the
police and probation service, decided that something needed to be done
to help victims. They created the very first Victim Support project to
find out more about how victims were affected by crime. As well as
learning a lot about the problems victims faced, they realised that
there was little or no help on offer.
Two years later, the very first Victim Support group was set up
in Bristol. Other groups soon followed around the UK with local people
deciding they needed to do something to help victims too. In 1979 all
the groups around the country got together to create an ‘umbrella body’ –
the National Association of Victim Support Schemes.
Over the years the number of member schemes grew and grew. This
was followed by a series of mergers and restructures over the years
resulting in the single national Victim Support charity for England and
Wales that we are today.
If you’re more interested in our history, you can see a timeline
of key events and
achievements over the last 35 years.