Think Pieces

Susan’s story

24 February, 2023

The first steps to support

I had heard of Victim Support Scotland at some point in the past, but it was not in the forefront of my mind. When I was plucking up courage to go to the Police and give a statement, I had looked at the Victim Support Scotland website. From the first phone call I wanted to be informed, I wanted to know information, I want to know timescales, I want to know what services are available for me. When I phoned up that’s what I got – information – to prepare me for what to expect.

I had no idea that there was such a depth of services that Victim Support Scotland could offer.


Support in the run up to a trial

I mainly began to use the support services just before the court trial. Initially the support was mainly practical. I was shown round the court building by a Victim Support Scotland supporter for a court familiarisation visit.  I am quite a visual person and just being able to go in there and see the building, I didn’t quite appreciate until then just how valuable that would be. Anyone who is going through that I recommend using the option to have a court familiarisation visit. I don’t think I could have got through it without it. It just helped me prepare for what was going to happen that day in court.

Practical, but emotional support too

I accessed emotional support from a Victim Support Scotland volunteer on the day of giving evidence for the trial. I believe the support was over and above –  it was on another level. I realise you need to have a level of empathy to do the role, but I feel that everyone was completely invested in my case, in my wellbeing and in supporting me.

Even just with someone meeting me at the court when I arrived, the minute I walked in the room I felt I was not alone.


The right support at the right time

The volunteer supporter had the qualities of empathy and kindness and the right balance of being informative and warm at the same time. She knew when was the right time for me to talk and not talk, she gave me the choice. There was no pressure that I ‘had to speak’.  She also didn’t make me feel that she felt sorry for me, or make me feel like a victim. I know that she herself was touched by the evidence she heard, but she got the balance of support for me right.

After the court trial ended the local Victim Support Scotland office was also there to answer my questions about the sentencing process. They have continued to provide emotional support over the phone and have not forced me down any specific route. I sought counselling for myself and they have supported this idea.

I wouldn’t change anything about the process of accessing support and I can’t thank everyone enough for being there. It changed my experience.


To other people who are considering seeking support, I would say that I had a positive experience of support. You’re not alone, there’s so many services out there to support people going through this. There’s wonderful people that volunteer for VSS. It’s not a paid job, it’s people giving up their time to do it. I couldn’t have got through it without them. I’d encourage anyone to come forward and volunteer as well, it’s such a worthwhile cause.

Victim Support Scotland supports all people affected by crime, whether the case has been reported to the Police or not. To access support from VSS please contact us through the VSS Helpline on 0800 160 1985 or through email or web chat at the bottom of this page.