Have you got time to help victims of crime? That is what Victim Support is asking as it launches a major recruitment drive for volunteers in East Sussex.
Just a few weeks ago the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) awarded the charity the contract for the service.
The number of referrals to Victim Support over the last two years has risen dramatically and the organisation is currently supporting 120 people in East Sussex.
East Sussex has more than 20 volunteers, trained to provide emotional and practical support to people who have experienced a whole range of crimes .
They may be victims of burglary or assault. Volunteers are also trained for more serious crimes including murder and rape.
They are offered support soon after the crime and this continues as long as it’s needed.
Volunteers are available by phone or can visit people at their homes or another venue if that would put them at risk from the perpetrator of the crime.
Those interested in volunteering go through Disclosure and Barring Service checks so they can work with children and vulnerable adults and then several days of core training before a probationary period under supervision.
Later on they can undertake specialist training, including restorative justice when victims want to meet the perpetrator face to face.
There are also volunteer posts working in the main office in administration.
Victim Support has been running for about 40 years.
“More people are coming forward for help now,” said Graham Hill, senior manager.
“When the service becomes more accessible referrals go up. Crime has actually dropped significantly in recent years
“Our trained volunteers do an amazing job and work extremely hard but we desperately need more.
“Volunteers do not need any specific qualifications to join us.
“They just need the commitment to do something for their community and give up a bit of time.
“In return we will train them and support them at all stages of their work.
“You don’t have to be retired or not working. Some of our volunteers work full time.
“Normally you just need to be able to give about two to four hours a week and not necessarily in one block - some weeks there’s not much at all and others there might be something more complex.
“It is driven by the amount of time volunteers have.
“Will is as good an example as you can get of a committed volunteer. He provides superb support.”
Training courses are arranged for February and March.
Anyone interested should contact Victim Support either by email SussexVolunteering@victimsupport.org.uk or phone 01273 456151.
Keep an eye on your Sussex Express website tomorrow when the story of a Victim Support volunteer will be posted.