An increase in the need to provide support to victims and witnesses of crime in the Bailiwick has seen six new volunteers being trained for the Guernsey Victim Support and Witness Service, bringing the total to fifteen.
Set up in 1998, the Service provides guidance and support for all witnesses and victims who find themselves having to attend Court. Marilyn King, Manager of the Service said: ” It can be extremely daunting and sometimes distressing to have to attend court as a witness. We provide support to prosecution and defence witnesses, their family and friends before, during and after coming to court to give evidence. We offer pre-trial visits to the courtroom, to explain the court procedure and our volunteers provide support on the day of the court attendance.
“In the last year alone we have received over 400 referrals for support which includes domestic abuse, assault, burglary and criminal damage whether or not a crime has been reported and regardless of when it occurred. To have been able to take on another six volunteers and train them to the highest accredited standards has enabled us to provide those in need the right level of support.
Part private and part public funded, the Service operates from a suite of rooms in the Courts building which include a video-link room used for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses who can give evidence without entering the courtroom.
Chairman Brian Richings said: “The Service takes on volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds with a mixture of experiences. One of the recently trained volunteers commented that a family member of theirs had been a victim of crime in the UK and had benefitted from the Service so they wanted to give something back to victims in Guernsey. We are extremely grateful for the commitment and dedication that our volunteers show.”
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