26 Feb Victim Support seeks Southern volunteers with a passion for helping others
Last year, Victim Support volunteers in Dunedin provided support to 885 victims of crime or trauma.
With the current number of support workers in the region at 11, well under the usual 15-20, the service is actively seeking new volunteers.
Victim Support volunteers respond to a range of incidents, working closely with Police and other agencies to provide immediate practical support and guidance to victims, witnesses and family.
Volunteer of four years, Chantelle Simmonds, was drawn to the opportunity to help others in her community.
“Through my work, I had been in contact with Victim Support and listened to what the volunteers do. It really resonated with me.”
Recruits attend an interview and assessment centre during the selection process. If accepted, there’s a comprehensive training course to complete before joining the service as an intern.
Chantelle is impressed with the way the organisation is structured to support its volunteers.
“The training is amazing, and so is the ongoing care from the Service Co-ordinators. For every case you deal with, you can debrief with someone afterwards. I like the fact that Victim Support is not only there to support the community, they are there for their support workers.”
For Chantelle, the ability to work on a flexible roster, organised around her work and family commitments makes it possible for her to help.
“I was at the right time in my life. I had a teenage son who didn’t need me at home as much. I am rostered on one night a week, and if there’s an incident, I’ll get the case assigned to me. There could be a request to attend or a phone call to make initial contact.”
Calls can be for anything from a minor traffic incident to a house fire, and while the work can be challenging, the support of the team is invaluable.
“We have a fantastic group of support workers who learn from each other. The group are all different ages and backgrounds with lots of different life skills.”
Dunedin Area Manager, Peter Guest, encourages people who are interested in volunteering to find out more.
“We really value our volunteers. Victim Support is well respected by the Police and the hard work done by our volunteers in the community is very much appreciated.”
Chantelle says her decision to volunteer for Victim Support brings many rewards.
“I love being able to help people without receiving anything in return. If I can help someone through a difficult time, and know they have the right things in place, then that’s the best result.”
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Contact Victim Support on 0800 86 58 68.