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 in both local communities and within the court environment, ensuring people receive the high-quality support and care they need to move forward after crime.
Making a difference
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, in a service user’s home, in court or in one of Victim Support Scotland’s offices.
- 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.
Learning & Development opportunities
You will be required to undergo 70 hours of in-depth learning and development over a period of up to eight to ten weeks, through online self study, virtual workshops and supervised support, resulting in accreditation. This will equip you with the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to provide high quality support to victims and witnesses of crime.
Getting the most out of volunteering
We know that our volunteers have busy lives, so we agree time commitment with each individual volunteer. However, we ask for:
- A minimum commitment of approximately eight hours a week, to make a lasting impact on people’s lives.
- A minimum commitment of at least one year, ideally two, so that you might get the most out of development opportunities and your support experience.
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 and interpersonal 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
Find out more in our support volunteer job description.
The people we support come from all communities across Scotland, as do our volunteers. We welcome new volunteers from all backgrounds and languages.
If you have any questions about this volunteering opportunity, please contact us using the Volunteer option and we can discuss via email or phone.
Recruitment and induction process
We are committed to the welfare and protection of children and protected adults and have a duty to ensure the suitability of any individual who volunteers with the organisation.
To ensure we provide the best possible service to people affected by crime, we ask all volunteers to follow our recruitment and induction process. This involves:
- Completing our volunteer registration form
- Completing our criminal offences self-declaration form
- Undertaking a Disclosure Scotland check and joining the PVG scheme, paid for by VSS
- Providing two satisfactory references
- Participating in an online Discovery Session to ensure this is the right opportunity for you
- Attending an interview
- Participating in an online Welcome Session
- Undertaking in-depth training and development
- Signing and abiding by Victim Support Scotland’s confidentiality agreement; data protection commitment; and volunteer agreement