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Volunteers needed for Victim Support and Witness Service 3 September 2007

INCREASING numbers of victims are relying on voluntary services provided by Victim Support Isle of Man and the charity has launched a major recruitment campaign aiming to triple its volunteer workforce in order to meet the demand.

The charity, based in Albert Street near Douglas Courthouse, receives an annual contribution of £67,000 from the Department of Home Affairs but all funds raised – including around £5,000-£8,000 at its main annual Essentially Dancing fund raiser – go to the victims.

Victim Support IoM manager Paula Gelling said:

‘We are a victim of our own success in terms of the increasing amount of cases. And with the increase in awareness about the service, more volunteers are needed to undertake various aspects of Victim Support duties.
‘The courts sit every working day and we currently have five volunteers in the Witness Support service, whereas ideally we’d like 12. We have three volunteers on the Victim Support side and we also ideally need 12 there. We need people who are available during the working day. It can include people who are able to support people in general, attending court with witnesses, plus doing tasks like making tea and coffee for our clients. Training is provided for the supporting roles but there are various levels of support and we understand if someone prefers not to take on some of the more serious cases.’

Home Affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK and Department Members George Waft MLC and Tim Crookall MHK recently toured Victim Support’s premises to learn more about its work.

Martyn Quayle said:

‘I am terrifically supportive of Victim Support because a lot of the work they are doing is unsung and unseen by the public but it touches the lives of so many people. Great work is being done and long may it continue. It’s clear the positive impact they have on victims and witnesses and their family members.’

Victim Support IOM is currently looking to recruit around 20 new volunteers to share the workload, following training.

Said Paula:

‘Anybody can volunteer. Volunteers might be people who have considered being involved in the criminal justice system in any capacity such as police officers, prison officers, probation officers, social workers, court ushers, court administrative staff or indeed those who are interested in doing jury service but have never had the opportunity. This work provides an insight into the criminal process but from a supportive side. No formal qualification is required – just being a good listener and being of good character.’

Anyone wanting more information on becoming a volunteer for Victim Support can contact Paula on 679950. Most of the work is during working hours on weekdays and volunteers are welcome to give one or more days per week.

Volunteers can opt to work in either the Witness Support or Victim Support areas, or in both, following training. All staff and volunteers are covered by Victim Support’s public indemnity insurance.

More information including full job descriptions and the volunteer application form is available on the website: www.gov.im/dha/ceo/victimsupport.xml

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