At the end of 2018, Victim Support was proud to launch a new pilot programme to enable our volunteers to register with Victim Support to work solely with those affected by suicide.
The programme makes it easier for people with the right skills to get involved as volunteers, and provides clients with the benefits of greater specialisation. “Less than six months into the pilot, we’re already finding it attracts volunteers who are really motivated about this issue,” says April Marshall, National Manager Bereavement Services.
“Volunteers are able to better specialise their training, build experience with relevant cases, and build closer relationships with our suicide bereavement specialists on staff. Most importantly they can respond more quickly to call-outs and give more time to each case."
Working with people affected by suicide is a unique part of our work and an area that many are deeply dedicated to. The programme has gathered strong interest with over 70 volunteer applications in the first two weeks.
We recently chatted with David, who recently joined Victim Support and has completed the new suicide bereavement volunteer programme in Wellington.
Thank you David for your contribution to Victim Support! Can you talk a bit about your role as a suicide bereavement volunteer?
David: As a new volunteer for Victim Support, I’m continually learning what I can do to assist those who have been affected by suicide in their family. What I have done so far is listen and support them as they continue to work through the grief, to understand there is a way forward while not forgetting their loved one who has died. For me it has been a learning curve but it has helped me to grow as a person.
Why did you want to be a Victim Support volunteer?
David: From a young age I have been bought up to serve my community and those that I come in contact with. As a deacon in the Catholic Church, I am familiar with supporting people who have been affected by death and loss of family members. Working with Victim Support as a volunteer is an extension of what I have done through life. In this role I feel that I can make a difference.
Would you recommend volunteering for Victim Support to people thinking about it?
David: We are all different but we all have something to give. I would totally recommend to anybody to have a go. To go through the training, understand what is involved and to realise that each one of us can make a difference to somebody’s life.
Rodger Barlow, a dedicated Victim Support volunteer, witnesses remarkable changes in his work, providing crucial support and making a positive impact.
Jenny Tosswill, a resilient Victim Support volunteer in the Wairarapa, draws on her paramedic experience to support traumatic cases at Victim Support.
Jo's inspiring journey as a Victim Support volunteer in the Wairarapa, from overcoming personal tragedy and finding solace in helping others.
Former psychiatric nurse Tricia brings valuable experience to her volunteering at Victim Support, making a difference in the community.
Victim Support were there for Billy Davis when his wife unexpectedly passed away and now he’s determined to be there for others as a volunteer.
Hong Kong migrant Yau volunteers at Victim Support, providing crucial support for Chinese-speaking victims.
A dedicated volunteer, trained in homicide support, Maria has supported many victims in her community including the mosque attack victims.
Martyn, a retired UK police officer, found a new purpose as a volunteer for Victim Support in New Zealand.
When a frenzied attack occurred in a popular Dunedin supermarket, Victim Support workers and volunteers were on hand to help the 26 people affected.
Meet Chris, a St John paramedic and volunteer with Victim Support and Coastguard, who understands the importance of self-care all too well.
Daniel's experience as a Victim Support volunteer making a difference in people's lives has given him a new perspective on life.
Discover how Fred, a retired nurse, is using his empathetic nature and skills to help victims of crime and trauma in his community.
Chantal, a primary school teacher, found her love of helping others when she became a volunteer for Victim Support.
Meet Wendy, a volunteer who is on a mission to strengthen people's mana and give back to her community.
University professor and weightlifting silver medallist Jennifer is a busy woman, but she still finds time to volunteer for Victim Support.
A 15-year veteran with Victim Support, volunteer Wayne has always been passionate about solving problems and connecting with others.
Diana, assault survivor turned advocate, finds purpose in aiding others with similar experiences, turning trauma into empowerment.
Victim Support volunteer Christine Cowell says that her role involves being constantly outside her comfort zone.
On top of her busy schedule, Sheila volunteers one 12-hour night shift each week for Victim Support in the Wellington region.
Gurpreet Singh, a doctor from India, became a volunteer to help others, follow his spiritual journey and be a positive role model.
Rikihana (Riki) found Victim Support when he went looking for something to offset his high-pressure position and give back to his community.
With her kids grown up, Deidre Anderson went looking for an opportunity to support the people in her community -then she found Victim Support.
Jim's exceptional commitment to his community was recently recognised with the Queen’s Birthday Honours and Service Medal for Victim Support work.