Support volunteers

Victim Support Scotland provides people affected by crime with emotional and practical assistance and information about the criminal justice system. Our trained volunteers deliver this support, aiming to empower victims and witnesses to move forward with their lives.

Victims of crime often feel a range of emotions such as anxiety, confusion and anger, while witnesses may feel confused, anxious and overwhelmed by the court system. Our support volunteers provide help and support to people affected by crime in local communities and within the court environment throughout Scotland.

How could you help?

Our support volunteers make personal contact with people affected by crime, providing them with support at a time when they need it most. Contact can be made by telephone, at a service user’s home, in court or in one of Victim Support Scotland’s offices.

You will:

  • Discuss service users’ needs by telephone, face-to-face visits or other means, agreeing next steps at the end of each contact.
  • Help witnesses feel more confident at court by arranging and conducting court familiarisation visits.
  • Support service users in the court room and other appropriate locations on the day of a trial, liaising with court officials on behalf of service users.
  • Give feedback and agree follow-up actions with staff members.
  • Provide administrative support in completing service users’ journeys.

Volunteering with us can be challenging, but also extremely rewarding. As a volunteer you will gain many benefits, such as:

  • Supporting people when they most need it, helping them to recover from what can be a very distressing time in their life and empowering them to move forward
  • Learning new skills and gaining experience of working within the criminal justice sector
  • Gaining access to a range of training courses that are relevant to your volunteering role
  • Positively affecting your community as a member of a team actively working to reduce the impact of crime

As a volunteer with Victim Support Scotland, you can expect:

  • Support in your volunteering role to deliver services effectively
  • Training and development to give you any further skills you need to support people effectively
  • Reimbursement of all reasonable expenses (e.g. travel)

We are looking for committed, reliable and empathetic volunteers who can work with people of all ages, backgrounds and life situations. Knowledge of the criminal justice system and experience of supporting people is beneficial, however we will provide training and support. As a support volunteer you will need:

  • Effective communication skills
  • The ability to actively listen to service users and anyone affected by crime
  • A non-judgemental approach to working with people from all sections of the community
  • An interest in learning about the criminal justice system and understanding the challenges a service user might face
  • An awareness of confidentiality obligations and your responsibility to uphold these
  • Effective time management skills and ability to work under (reasonable) pressure
  • Access to a car or ability to use public transport

We know that our volunteers have busy lives, so we agree the time commitment with each individual volunteer. However, we ask for:

  • A minimum commitment of approximately one day per week, however this may vary depending upon the needs of the service.
  • A minimum commitment of at least one year so that you might get the most out of a volunteering role.

The people we support come from all communities across Scotland, as do our volunteers. We welcome new volunteers from all backgrounds and languages.

To ensure we provide the best possible service to people affected by crime, we ask all volunteers to follow our processes. This will involve:

  • Completing our volunteer expression of interest form found on this page
  • Undertaking a Disclosure Scotland check and joining the PVG scheme
  • Providing two satisfactory references
  • Completing our three-day ‘Introduction to Victim Support Scotland’ training module
  • Signing and abiding by Victim Support Scotland’s
    • Confidentiality agreement
    • Commitment to data protection
    • Volunteer agreement