Volunteer story: "It's being there and being a rock."

Riki smiling

Rikihana (Riki) found Victim Support when he went looking for something to offset his high-pressure position with one of New Zealand's biggest commercial entities.

"I saw an opportunity to make a difference and not be measured in Key Performance Indicators," says Riki.

Riki does a weekend shift each week on Auckland's North Shore. To develop his skills, he completed the initial training programme as well as specialist training in family harm, sexual violence, homicide and suicide. "Being raised and living the majority of my life on the North Shore I wanted to make a difference in the community. I read a story about Victim Support and the role they played in the community, and instantly felt a connection to the work they do."

He recalls a callout early on that highlighted the importance of the service for victims of crime and trauma.

"I was asked to attend a visit to notify the family of a sudden death. I remember waiting with the Police for our client to come home. When they pulled into the driveway and saw us, their mouth dropped – knowing that something had happened.

“That incident gave me much more of a sense of the impact that these events have on people. It made me realise the role we're there to play."

"You're not there to be the knight in shining armour - that's the value in it – it's just being there and being a rock for the person who needs that support.”

"Victim Support Workers attend incidents or provide support after events that are life changing for the people, whānau, and witnesses involved. I always remind myself that my role is to walk alongside people as they navigate the next few minutes, hours, days and months.  I can't take away the grief, hurt and loss these people are experiencing, but  if I can let them know they are not alone and hopefully guide them along a support path that will illuminate over time."

"I took this role with Victim Support to not be measured on performance targets or budgets, but to help people in the background one on one.  I feel honoured that I'm able to help Victim Support to make a difference to people in need."

If you'd like to make a difference as a Volunteer Support Worker like Riki, we'd love to hear from you. Find out more about volunteering or sign up now here.