After the murder of Sarah Everard by a Policeman in the UK, I decided to volunteer for Victim Support IOM. Like the vast majority of women, I found hearing about the case very difficult. I was left feeling frustrated that the average person doesn’t even feel safe walking home alone.
After talking to friends and family I have come to realise that women tolerate feeling unsafe as a way of life. This is what prompted me to first get in touch with the Victim Support IOM team. I wanted to support victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and harassment.
Early into my training, I quickly realised that Victim Support IOM not only supports victims of domestic abuse but any individual affected by a road traffic collision and crime of any sort. The team provides emotional and practical support for those who need it free of charge. I hadn’t realised the scope of support that Victim Support IOM provides on the island. It opened my eyes to the various crimes that happen on the island and the victims from every walk of life that require support.
During the course of my training, I learned about the Witness Service which is another service provided by Victim Support IOM. The Witness Service gives support to victims and witnesses who are in court. Some of the support consists of organising a pre-trial visit to calm the nerves, enquiring about special measures or discussing what will actually happen during the trial. Sometimes simply waiting with the individual with a cup of tea before their case is all that is required. I found my first experience going to the courts quite intimidating and it really made me think about how victims must feel when giving evidence. If I can make a witness or victim feel more at ease before trial then I’ve done my job.
I am presently in the process of shadowing and sitting in on clients as they receive support. Victim Support IOM has really taught me the power of listening to someone who needs to be heard. Often saying nothing at all and just listening to someone can be enough for that person. Especially in this modern fast-paced world we often forget to slow down and truly listen and check in on one another. This is something everyone can definitely improve on in their daily lives.
For me, volunteering also provides a sense of community. I am an online Mathematics tutor and I work during the evenings. This means I have a lot of alone time in the day. I enjoy going into Victim Support IOM to catch up with the lovely team and give back to the community. As you can imagine, the volunteers are really good people with kind hearts who are a pleasure to be around.
As more people become aware of the work being done by Victim Support IOM the team of volunteers is growing but could always do with more. If you wish to receive support or become a volunteer you can contact Victim Support IOM at any time on: 01624 679950 and our office is open from 8.30am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. Email: email@example.com