Victim Support seeks volunteer supporters
‘‘People need to know there is someone in their corner.’’
Victim Support’s Helen McLeane wants to raise the profile of the Crown-supported agency that operates out of the community services wing of the Palmerston North police station.
For too many, the first encounter they have with Victim Support is after a burglary, when the agency gets in touch asking if there’s anything they can do to help.
Referred by police, the independent incorporated society offers an extensive free response available to anyone facing grief and trauma as a result of serious crime, or an accident.
‘‘Many people don’t realise who we are or what we are about until they need to use what we provide.’’
McLeane oversees an area that coincides with the police district and stretches from Otaki across to Dannevirke with the help of 17 highly trained volunteer support workers.
‘‘We cover a variety of situations. Suicide bereavement is part of our basic training.
‘‘We provide court support for people in several different ways. We can sit in court behind people to provide support, or be in a witness room.
‘‘We offer referral to other support services such as Women’s Refuge and Rape Crisis, and to approved counsellors. It’s the high end of voluntary work.’’
The support workers are not only available immediately after any incident, but provide longterm assistance, up to two years if necessary.
‘‘Coroners reports can take two years to come out. That brings it all back for the people affected.’’
The volunteers are the heart of the service putting in around 10 hours a week.
‘‘They are rostered four hours a week, but have to prepare case notes and follow up phone calls. We struggle a bit at weekends.’’
‘‘We have 17 people from all age groups and genders and backgrounds who have dealt with some harrowing stuff, and handled the circumstances well. It may be a volunteer organisation but we provide a professional level of service.’’
McLeane is looking for volunteers who have people and computer skills.
‘‘It’s quite an interview process so they know exactly what they’re getting in to.’’
Anyone interested can find out more on the Victim Support webpage or 0800 86 5868
Helen McLeane, Victim Support’s service co-ordinator is looking for suitable volunteers.