You never know when you may need help of Victim Support Scotland - Kate Wallace

Kate Wallace, CEO, Victim Support ScotlandKate Wallace, CEO, Victim Support Scotland
Kate Wallace, CEO, Victim Support Scotland
“Speaking to David at Victim Support Scotland makes me more confident and stronger. I feel better about the trial and know I will be supported when it happens. I feel more positive about the future, like I can get the things I want from my life.”

The above quote from Craig, a child abuse survivor who is speaking about one of our support workers, shows how impactful taking the time to talk to someone neutral is in the aftermath of a crime.

Craig’s comment is one of a number of stories that we are highlighting throughout this week, as part of Victims Awareness Week. The week is the annual national week championing the voices, experiences and rights of people affected by crime. It is timed to coincide with the European Day for Victims of Crime, which was on Monday 22 February.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you are fortunate enough to not have experienced a crime, it is hard to imagine what the impact on you would be – emotionally, physically and even financially. The ripple effect can often be felt for months, if not years.

Everyone has a right to support following a crime, under the Victims’ Code for Scotland.

With all of this in mind, we decided to focus this year’s awareness week on the theme of ‘Your Space’ to get support you need.

We are aiming to deepen everyone’s understanding of the emotional impact of crime, and what practical support is available to everyone in Scotland through our services.

Throughout Victims Awareness Week we are putting out messages, blog posts and stories linked to the theme of ‘Your Space’. Each day has been focusing on a different aspect of support, for example – Space to feel understood, Space to be informed, Space to consider options – with the hope that with this information, more victims and witnesses will feel encouraged to seek support – whether from us or our partners.

Victim Support Scotland celebrated its 35th Anniversary last year. Clearly, Scotland has changed a lot since the 1980s and, as Scotland’s leading national charity supporting victims, witnesses and their families in the aftermath of crime, we have also had to adapt and be agile in response to the changing nature of crime.

Our services are available throughout all of Scotland both in the community and in the courts, where we can support people before, during and after a trial.

Everyone affected by crime can access our services – including family members and friends – and you do not need to have reported to the police to access our free services.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We also have a team of specialist support workers who are part of our Support for Families Bereaved by Crime service, the first of its kind for Scotland for people who have lost someone through some of the most serious crimes.

None of us could not have predicted the year that was 2020, and through the pandemic our support workers and volunteers have continued to work tirelessly. Victims of crime have been impacted even more in the pandemic.

At the same time, we have been working collaboratively with our colleagues in the justice sector to ensure the needs of victims are put first when it comes to decision-making.

Throughout the last year we have expanded the reach of our free and confidential National Helpline and our webchat facility, allowing us to reach even more victims in their hours of need.

Many victims have experienced even more hardship during the pandemic. Through the Victims’ Fund, we have managed to support hundreds of people in financial destitution and seen some ‘lifechanging’ results. Through this financial assistance people have been able to purchase emergency household goods, food and clothing vouchers have been given as well as funeral costs.

We have come a long way in terms of providing support to victims, and their families, and advocating for a justice system that puts people impacted by crime at its centre. There is still however a lot to do.

I hope that during Victims Awareness Week you all have a chance to familiarise yourself with some of the good work that is under way in Scotland just now to support people in the aftermath of crime. You never know when you, or someone you know may need it.

For more details of Victims Awareness Week visit here. For more details on Victim Support Scotland go here. For anyone needing to access Victim Support Scotland’s service, please call the free and confidential helpline on 0800 160 1985.

Kate Wallace, CEO, Victim Support Scotland

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.