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Our Volunteers’ Stories

volunteering: Victim support in court waiting roomHear about volunteering with Victim Support Scotland in our volunteers’ own words. If you’re considering volunteering with us, you can find out more about what it takes, how we support our volunteers and about how to volunteer.

Molly - Volunteering in Court

Volunteering with the Witness Service has greatly increased my confidence and has helped me with public speaking (for university presentations and such).

I now have a good knowledge and understanding of the court and criminal justice process, which has been very helpful with certain aspects of my university course.

I feel I have an understanding and respect for others and life issues they have been through.  Also I found that many people who at first glance would seem uncooperative and maybe unpleasant, are usually lovely people who have had a difficult life, and need someone to listen.  I find it very interesting and wish it could be an actual job!

Renee - "Real People" Volunteer Work

I've found my volunteer work very fulfilling.  It has shown me a part of life I know absolutely nothing about and made me realise that many people are victims of their own circumstances – “there but for the grace of God” etc.

It has been a pleasure to assist witnesses in feeling more able to face what they often see as an ordeal, going into court to give evidence.

It is ‘real people’ volunteer work which is very worthwhile for both the witnesses and volunteers in mutual benefit.  I come away feeling I've helped in some small way.  Good for me too!

Abbey - Volunteering While Studying

Law student Abbey Scott was studying domestic abuse in her course at Dundee University when her lecturer suggested she should try to get some practical experience of the crime. She looked around and realised she could get exactly the kind of insight that she needed by volunteering with Victim Support Scotland.

“I wanted to build up my knowledge and experience of how the criminal justice system works day-to-day and how it affects people. Now I have seen that at first hand. It’s shown me the harsh reality of the law for victims and it has made me understand the difficulties that people face.

“I had already done quite a lot of volunteering. But it’s not just that experience that being a volunteer has given me. I love meeting new people and feeling that I have made a contribution. And it’s very rewarding when people that you have helped thank you for your efforts.

“I work for both the victim service and the witness service at court so I meet people who have just suffered a crime and also people who may be coming to court as a victim and witness or just as a witness and the challenges that presents for them.

“The work is varied and very interesting and it’s good to be able to help people. In the last six months I have helped victims of assault, vandalism, break-ins and other crimes. There was one case I dealt with where the person was both a victim and an accused and that made me think differently and changed my perception.

“And in another case I helped someone who was feeling suicidal which made me feel good that I had helped someone through a very hard time. It’s very rewarding to support people and I also enjoy meeting and working with other volunteers, gaining from their knowledge and experience – and hearing some of the great stories they have!”

George - Volunteering after Retirement

Fife volunteer George Duncan wanted to make a difference and help a wide spectrum of people when he retired, so he decided to join Victim Support Scotland.

“I had had a career in customer relations and I like helping people so I was attracted to working with VSS. And now I am 73 and have been a volunteer for four years with the Victim Service and 15 years with the Witness Service. I get great satisfaction from supporting people and I simply love what I do. And it’s partly selfish because it keeps me young – even at 73.

“On my volunteering days, I usually get into the office about 9 a.m. and check out the schedule for the day to see if there are any court familiarisation visits or special needs witnesses to prepare for. Then I will head down to the Witness Room at the court and chat to anyone who is there. From then on we spend the rest of the day helping people who attend the court.

“Many victims and witnesses are worried or frightened by what’s to come. So we give them a detailed rundown of what will happen in court. Then we stay with them and sometimes go into the court with them to support them. We are specially trained to do this and people find it a great comfort.

“I spent around 480 hours helping people at court last year and I also get involved in representing VSS at awareness events and with fundraising – which is very important for the charity. It’s very varied and there’s a particular joy when someone says to me: ‘Thank you so much. I couldn’t have got through today without your help.’”

Watch these 30 second videos explaining what volunteering means to our team.

Steph - From Volunteer to Staff Member

Lauren - Developing Skills for the Future

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