Taking back control with VSS support
As part of Victims Week 2019, Amber writes about the impact of a crime committed against her when she was a child and how she took back control of her life.
I am a survivor of historic sexual abuse committed by a family friend when I was a child. In 2017 I reported the crime to the police who referred me to VSS for support.
The crime has dominated my life. I was overwhelmed with the enormity of what had happened and couldn’t cope. I lacked confidence, I was depressed and it affected my relationships. My life just imploded. I was emotionally damaged by the crime and had to receive professional counselling.
It was only as an adult that I had the courage to report the crime to the police.
I hadn’t realised that the support I received from VSS was actually available. I am so grateful to them for their help. I was negatively affected by what happened and being able to speak about it lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Talking about it made me realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The negative feelings have now been replaced by optimism and positivity.
When the case went to court, I was terrified and didn’t know what to expect. VSS’ victim and witness services supported through the trial and gave me the confidence to tell the jury what the abuser did to me. VSS was absolutely brilliant throughout. They were so reassuring – I always felt supported.
VSS helped me in other ways too. They supported me to complete a Victim Impact Statement, to give to the court as I was finding it hard to express myself and didn’t know what to include. VSS guided me to make sure only the relevant information was provided to the court, so I could say how the crime affected me and the impact it had made on my life.
VSS helped me to put the pieces of my life back together. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of people to support me – they were always there for me. I was finally able to tell my story and I no longer have the negative feelings that have been with me since I was a child. It perhaps doesn’t seem enough but I just want to say a big thank you to Victim Support for all they did – it helped change my life.
Victim Support Scotland is here for anyone affected by crime – whoever you are, whatever the crime. Call our helpline (0800 160 1985).