Victim Support Scotland launch ‘Mind My Voice’ campaign to help support people affected by crime
Victim Support Scotland has today, the 21st February, launched a week-long campaign called ‘Mind My Voice’ to highlight untold stories of people who have come through crime.
The campaign, which marks Victims’ Awareness Week, is on the theme of ‘hidden victims’ and tells the real-life stories of people who have experienced crime. The week runs between 21st to 27th of February and coincides with the European Day for Victims of Crime on the 22nd of February.
Every year in Scotland, more than 50 per cent of crimes goes unreported due to people being unsure of the severity of what has happened to them and for fear of not been taken seriously.
Victim Support Scotland believes this isn’t acceptable and hopes the campaign will give people the confidence to come forward and report crime, as well as sharing their experiences.
Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland said:
“A campaign such as this has never been more needed. With every crime reported, there are many that go unreported, and therefore victims are often left to cope in the aftermath of crime without support. We hope this campaign may give people the confidence to come forward and receive support, regardless of if the crime has been reported to the police.
“It is paramount that lived experience is taken into account when it comes to improving our justice system. Often, people who have come through crime feel invisible in the justice system – and this feeling can multiply if they are feel discriminated against due to their identity.
“Many of the issues that people impacted by crime have faced have been exasperated during the pandemic. If we want Scotland to have a truly progressive justice system that is fit-for-purpose to deal with the complex needs of victims, witnesses and families, we need policy and decision makers to hear the experiences highlighted during this campaign and beyond to make meaningful change based on this.”
Many people who are victims of crime do not report the crime to the police. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as not realising the magnitude of the crime or having a mistrust of the police or justice system.
Victim Support Scotland aim with the Mind My Voice campaign is to encourage people to come forward to receive support following a crime, regardless of if it has been reported to the police.
Geri, an out trans woman from Glasgow has suffered a magnitude of hate crimes, just for being herself. She says: “I have had people stop and shout horrible comments to me on the street, I have been spat at, someone has threatened to stab me. I have received verbal and physical abuse, violence, just from walking down the street being myself.
“I would say the system at the moment is not working for trans people at all. The police and the justice system need to become more vigilant of trans rights.
“My advice to anyone who is suffering a hate crime to keep reporting to the police. There are officers out there who want to help and understand the trans community, and be there to support us. But we must continue to tell them that these crimes are happening.”
Victim Support Scotland have recently launched a new language guide called Mind My Experience, which encourages anyone who may be in contact with a person affected by crime to use sensitive and appropriate language.
Mind My Experience is primarily aimed at members of the public, police officers, and journalists to share findings of our trauma-informed work with external partners who may, unintentionally, use triggering language when reporting a crime. The guide will aim to empower people in the aftermaths of a crime using appropriate language which acknowledges their lived experiences and how their lives have been shaped by their experiences.
If you have been the victim of a crime, and are needing emotional support, Victim Support Scotland is here for you.
You can get in touch through our helpline on: 0800 160 1985 or through our online chat on our website: victimsupport.scot.