People we’ve helped
In 2021-2022 we offered support to over 13,000 people affected by crime in Cumbria.
These real life stories show how people who’ve used our services have moved forward after crime. Please note all names have been changed.
Tracey had experienced many years of domestic abuse. After contacting Victim Support she was given her own Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA).
I have an amazing IDVA and she has been my anchor on normality for months while I’ve been processing the end of ten years of domestic abuse in various forms. From the moment she rang me and I sobbed through every single phone call, to now, when we talk and she fills me with confidence and reassurance that I’m on track and doing OK.
Initially, I was terrified of pressing charges but with my IDVA’s support I did. My perpetrator has been in prison facing charges for years of abuse towards me. I could never have coped with that on my own. Never.
My home was secured through Victim Support and that gave me so much confidence. The stresses and strains were removed and the Victim Support service is like the warmest of comfort blankets wrapped around you. Protecting and encouraging and filling you full of confidence to face each day. I couldn’t have got through each day without the service. It’s been my lifeline and advice line all in one lovely bundle. I couldn’t have asked for better support or such expert knowledge.
When Dan first contacted Victim Support he wasn’t sure what to expect. Here’s what he had to say about how important it is to get the right support after experiencing crime.
I cannot thank you enough for the support and encouragement you’ve given me over the past 18 months, it truly has been invaluable. Certainly without it, I’d have given up. I do strongly believe I’m almost halfway to recovery and that’s very much thanks to you.
When we first spoke I truly didn’t know what to expect or gain from our chats. There were ups and downs, and I have taken a lot away from it. I’ve always said there will be people out there that will need support more than me, but I hope the other survivors realise just how helpful your phone calls and your time is.
Ruth had been a victim of antisocial behaviour and assault. Here she talks about the crime and how Victim Support helped her to cope afterwards.
I had been having some ongoing issues with my neighbours for around six months. I had been verbally abused and my car had been damaged.
On the day of the incident, I had taken my daughter bowling and returned home to collect my dog. When I got out the car, my neighbour and her friend were stood outside and they were being verbally abusive. My neighbour’s son then came out with a small axe. I was dragged into their kitchen where I was shot in the face with a BB gun, resulting in minor injuries.
I was encouraged by the nurse in the hospital to contact Victim Support, and I was supported by a volunteer called Anne. Anne was lovely, calm and kind. She kept in touch regularly and always called when she said she would. I felt Victim Support was on my side and it made such a difference that someone would listen and not judge. It was a very turbulent time immediately after the incident, and Anne was always so calming and thoughtful.
When the case was brought to court, Victim Support referred me to the Witness Service so I could look around the court beforehand. They also sent an alarm for my daughter who witnessed the incident.
I also felt that Victim Support were always professional, and perhaps did a lot of work I didn’t know about. They did an amazing job.
Sarah and Peter’s story
In August 2017 Sarah and Peter were referred to Turning the Spotlight, a service offered by Victim Support Cumbria for those having problems within relationships.
Peter had been arrested for assaulting Sarah in the street. He was seen dragging her into a car and the police had been called. When we met Peter he was on bail and not allowed in the family home.
Peter and Sarah have two young children, and wanted to continue their relationship.
We talked to both Sarah and Peter. Peter talked about their lack of communication, and how he could be paranoid with people he doesn’t know. Peter agreed to attend our Healthy Relationships programme.
Sarah talked about her anxiety with people she didn’t know. It took a few sessions to complete the assessment tools, but eventually Sarah agreed to some one-on-one work.
Soon after assessment, Peter’s bail conditions were lifted and social workers agreed that Peter could return home, as long as both Peter and Sarah continued to engage with Turning the Spotlight.
Peter attended all 12 sessions of the Healthy Relationship programme, even though he was anxious at the start. It helped having his caseworker running the programme as it was someone who was familiar to him.
Here’s what Sarah had to say.
We talk about things a lot more now. We both do. We used to bottle it all up – that’s when the drink comes in. I knew he’d react and I’d play up to it, as if I was rebelling. That just doesn’t happen anymore. I know he won’t react. He will just walk away. He’s changed a lot.
Help after reporting to the police – a survivor’s story
In this video a survivor of historic sexual abuse explains what happened after they reported the abuse to the police.