Posted: Wednesday 29th January 2020
As part of the #BeHeard campaign, we spoke to Frances Keel, Victim Support Manager from Victim Support:
At Victim Support, we offer support to adults affected by absolutely any crime type, whenever it happened and whether or not it’s been reported to the police. We provide all kinds of free and confidential support, such as providing home security items and advocacy. Most of all we provide emotional support. Experiencing a crime can be extremely traumatic and can leave people with all kinds of complex emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness or even guilt. It can cause mental health issues or exacerbate issues people already had. It can make it hard to sleep, to work, to relax, to spend time with family or friends and more. For some people the best way to move past the impact is to process their emotions in a safe and supportive environment with one of our highly trained supporters.
We're very fortunate that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) understand the important work that we do. The PCC and OPCC have provided support and funding, which means we are able to work with hundreds of clients a year and provide support that is flexible and tailored to the individual. Some victims might only need one or two sessions while others might need support for a number of months. Some people want support over the phone while others need to be supported in their home or local community. One victim might just need to know that they have someone to chat to about what happened while someone else might need structured support with targets and goals. We honestly believe that the person who knows what’s best for them is the client themselves, so we aim to provide the service they need at the time they need it.
We know how much of a difference our support can make because our clients tell us so. Some feedback has been:
- "If I didn't have my supporter I probably wouldn't have been able to cope. She was phenomenal. I'm now living a normal life again, and have strategies and coping mechanisms."
- "I have friends, but Victim Support was the only professional help and you were great. I would suggest to anybody going through what I was at the time to get in touch. I wasn't living but I was existing. Now I'm back to myself again."
- “I was in despair when I called you and I'm in such a different place than a few months ago. I've learnt resilience.”
There are a number of different ways you can get support from us.
If you’re currently in contact with Avon and Somerset’s Lighthouse team, your Victim and Witness Care officer might offer you a referral. If you’re working with another agency, such as a well-being service or another criminal justice agency, you can ask them to refer you to us.
For many people the quickest and easiest way is to get in touch yourself – you can call us on 0300 303 1972, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call or web chat with our 24/7 Supportline, details at www.victimsupport.org.uk.
Please remember, if you’re struggling after a crime it doesn’t matter how you get in touch, what matters is that you get the support you need and deserve.