- Provide support and advice to people who have been affected by crime
- You'll need excellent listening and understanding skills, and the ability to deal with distressing situations
- Progress into senior and supervisory roles or move into witness care
This is rewarding work, helping and supporting people who are coming to terms with the aftermath of a crime.
- Listening carefully and with sensitivity
- Reassuring clients that the events were not their fault and their reactions are normal
- Assessing clients' practical and emotional needs and arranging or directly giving them support
- Providing an objective viewpoint, possibly including information on legal processes
- Making sure that clients have access to other relevant services and agencies
- Ensuring appropriate confidentiality
The practical support you give may include getting a personal attack alarm for someone who feels unsafe, or arranging for a Police Community Support Officer to visit. You may also be involved in training and supervising volunteers.
You may need to work some evenings and weekends, and you'll spend some of your time travelling between offices or clients.
Some clients won't have spoken of their feelings before and may experience distress, confusion, guilt, or anger. You'll visit clients at home or support them over the telephone.
You'll need excellent communication skills, including telephone skills, the ability to work effectively with clients, colleagues and external agencies in complex and demanding situations, the ability to give support and guidance, problem solving skills and creativity to find solutions for clients, and a motivated and organised approach, with the ability to work to tight deadlines.
A common way into this job is to start as a volunteer with a victim or witness care organisation like Victim Support. You can also search for volunteering opportunities through general volunteering organisations like Do-it and NCVO.
As a volunteer, you would receive training, which would help you to develop your communication and listening skills, as well as the knowledge and understanding you need to support victims.
To volunteer, you normally need to be over 18 and of good character, with a caring nature and non-judgemental attitude. The ability to communicate in a second community-based language could be useful in some situations.
You may need between 1 and 2 years' experience as a volunteer before being considered for paid work.
You could also move into this career if you have experience from related areas, like working with vulnerable adults in social services, a community setting or through counselling.
Experience of working in the justice system, for instance with the police, courts or prisons, would also be useful.
You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - your employer will normally arrange this.
With experience, you could become a senior victim care officer, unit or area manager, with responsibilities for a number of centres, staff and volunteers. You could also move into witness care, with a greater focus on the legal and judicial system and making sure witnesses attend court.