Becoming a Volunteer
What’s involved in becoming a volunteer with Victim Support Scotland? If you fit the bill, you can volunteer now.
What we’re looking for
Skills and experience:
We accept a wide range of people with various skills and experience. Previous knowledge and experience of the Criminal Justice System is not essential as this will form part of the training programme. All volunteers undertake a full training programme and are given an opportunity to shadow more experienced volunteers before they are fully accredited.
We look for people to join our team who have the following skills:
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Ability to work in and with communities
- Work in an inclusive and non-discriminatory manner
- Work in partnership
- An understanding of their own role
- Listening and communication
- Negotiation and conflict management
This depends on the role, but as a general rule, we need to be able to rely upon you and you should be available for most of the year for at least half a day per week, preferably during normal office hours. Some areas are also offering services during the early evening, so please enquire locally.
We have victim service offices in nearly every local authority and our witness service is available in every sheriff and high court throughout Scotland. Please see our local directory for office locations.
After you join us
It is important to Victim Support Scotland that we provide a meaningful experience for volunteers. The Volunteer Journey is an outline of the various steps you will take to become a fully accredited volunteer for Victim Support Scotland.
As most volunteers get involved with our local victim and witness support services, the journey described below focuses on them. The journey for specialist volunteers will be tailored to their needs.
Starting the Journey
You can volunteer to work directly with those affected by crime in our community-based services or with witnesses in court by contacting your local office.
If you wish to offer your skills for other volunteering roles, please complete our form.
A volunteering application pack will usually be sent to you by email or post. Once you have returned your completed application, you will be invited for an informal chat to discuss your application and your suitability for the role. This also provides you with the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. During this stage, one of our managers will also discuss your availability to volunteer and go into more detail about other aspects of the volunteer journey outlined below.
2. References & Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG)/Disclosure Form
During your application, we'll ask you to give us details of two people who would be happy to give you a reference. The referees will be asked to comment on your suitability for a volunteer role with Victim Support Scotland and must have known you professionally or personally for a minimum of 3 years. Family members or relations are not permitted to provide a reference.
Following a successful interview, you will be required to complete a disclosure form (PVG) and provide the necessary identification. If you have an existing PVG, you may only be required to complete an update form. This will be fully explained during your interview. There is no cost to volunteers for this process.
All new volunteers are required to complete an induction process. This has several stages: the first stage will be to receive a short introductory session which will provide you with an overview and background of Victim Support Scotland as well as a chance to look at some typical case studies.
It is important that our volunteers feel confident and equipped to carry out their role. The next stage of the induction process is to attend our national Volunteer Foundation Training Course. The course covers different topics, skills and information specifically relating to your role and the services we provide to victims and witnesses of crime. During your induction, you will be asked to select a course date and location which is most suitable for you, subject to place availability.
Volunteers for specialist roles will attend relevant parts of the course.
Our training is very highly-regarded. Recent comments from attendees at our courses include:
“Loved it! Great! Just exactly what I needed for my role”
“It has given me the confidence and I will apply the knowledge & skills gained in order to support victims & witnesses”
“I feel more informed about the intricate details of the justice system and hope to reassure victims with this knowledge”
“I have a better understanding about what being a VSS volunteer is all about, particularly about boundaries”
“It was the perfect balance of information and fun. I am now really looking forward to the volunteer work, and feel far more prepared for the next steps”
Once you have completed the Foundation Training Course, your local service staff will meet with you to discuss the shadowing process. At this stage, you will be introduced to the local team and begin shadowing with more experienced volunteers. During this final stage, your service manager will ensure that you are provided with as much interaction and information about the various aspects of your role as possible.
When both you and your service manager are satisfied that you have sufficient confidence, knowledge, skill and understanding of the role, you will become a fully accredited volunteer.
6. Support & Supervision
You will be assigned to a staff member who will be responsible for guiding you through the induction process and for your ongoing support and supervision throughout your time as a volunteer. The staff member is responsible for managing and allocating work to volunteers and will ensure that volunteers receive full briefings prior to providing support and de-briefing after providing support.
7. Learning & Development
Accredited volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in advanced/specialist training courses as they become more experienced. You may also wish to expand your role as a volunteer, becoming involved in different aspects of the service or taking part in fundraising or community events, however this is not compulsory. Your staff member will be happy to discuss this with you.