Victim Support is the leading independent victim’s charity in England and Wales for people affected by crime and traumatic incidents.
Last year we offered support to nearly a million victims of crime. Victims whose lives had in many cases been torn apart by the crime they’d experienced. This included victims of devastating crimes requiring highly specialist support, such as domestic abuse; sexual violence; child sexual exploitation; acts of terror and hate crime. We also helped 1,416 family members cope with their bereavement, following the loss of a loved one through murder or manslaughter.
Specialist Witness Service
In 2016–17 Victim Support helped over 1,200 witnesses through their court experience, but our work didn’t stop there – we continued to help victims rebuild their lives once the court process was over up until the point our support was no longer needed.
Victims and witnesses tell us that giving evidence in court is both “re-traumatising” and “terrifying”. Victim Support has supported children as young as three years old in preparing to give evidence in court and continues to work with families and other professionals. We support young witnesses in a range of ways: they include pre-court visits, offering practice on live video links, setting up meetings with judges and advocates, and using stories, games and activities to help children build up their confidence and self-esteem. This combination of practical and emotional support ensures that children are fully prepared for the court process and have the best chance of giving their very best evidence.
This year we have expanded this specialist support across not only child witnesses but also in our support of sexual violence and domestic abuse victims.
Lara* (17) said: “Vanessa from the Witness Service was brilliant, going above and beyond what I expected. She provided support throughout my court case, starting from her giving me and my family details of what would happen in court, right over to her helping me to write my statement. As well as the emotional and practical support just having a familiar face was really reassuring.”
A gift to Victim Support in your Will is a very special way to help victims and witnesses in the future.