VCAS view the role of volunteers as an important element of the service to help victims of crime to cope with the immediate impact of Crime and assist in their subsequent recovery.
Volunteers work in partnership with a Victim Care Officer to provide emotional and practical support to victims of crime. They assist victims from the point that the crime is initially reported until they reach the point of recovery.
The volunteer role can be variable, challenging and rewarding and is relevant to the level of experience and the amount of time available. VCAS help volunteers to utilise the skills that they already have, develop new skills and gain valuable experience in supporting victims and their families at a difficult time.
Support and training is provided to help volunteers carry out the role and expenses incurred whilst acting as a volunteer will be covered.
Volunteers are asked to give a minimum commitment of 12 months but have the freedom to decide the hours worked during this time. The level of commitment will be variable and in accordance with the experience and intended role of the volunteer.
VCAS volunteers may be required to: –
- Clearly explain the role of Victim Care and Advice Service.
- Carry out joint visits to victims of crime together with their nominated Victim Care Officer and assist in taking notes.
- Assist the Victim Care Officer in keeping in contact with victims and where appropriate provide updates. This may be over the telephone or at some other agreed location.
- Support the Victim Care Officer in the provision of practical and emotional support and guidance or assist in arranging for it to be given.
- Gather information in support of the Victim Care Officer.
- Provide support to victims in the completion of Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority claims but not act as representing officer.
- Communicate in a way that is appropriate to the person being supported. Be empathetic and able to listen carefully and with sensitivity to what they have to say.
- Provide reassurance in respect of the victim’s ability to cope and recover.
- Help to develop effective relationships and pathways with other services that can support victims of crime or make third party referrals to VCAS. Provide information to victims about such agencies.
- Maintain contact with victims prior to court and where appropriate arrange and accompany the victims on pre-court visits that are delivered through the Witness Service.
- Write letters on behalf of victims to help them to address issues and support them in their recovery.
- Represent VCAS at events that promote awareness of the Victim Care and Advice Service.
- When required assist in the provision of information to help to encourage people to volunteer with the service.
The VCAS volunteer must: –
- Be able to travel within their designated area.
- Have access to email.
- Act in a non-discriminatory & inclusive manner.
- Have good inter-personal skills and be a good communicator, verbally and in writing.
- Have the ability to control their own emotions.
- Have the ability to problem solve and be creative in finding solutions for people.
- Be able to work on their own initiative.
- Must exercise good judgement so that they are able to understand when to refer issues to their nominated Victim Care Officer or the VCAS Team Leader.
- Have the ability to work alone or as part of a team.
- Ensure appropriate confidentiality.
- Behave responsibly regarding their own and others safety.
- Volunteers will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.