How we can help
We give emotional and practical help to people who have been affected by crime in Sussex. We’re an independent charity and you can contact us for support regardless of whether you’ve contacted the police, and no matter how long ago the crime took place. We’ll help you for as long as it takes to overcome the impact of crime.
If you call your local Victim Support team, we’ll make sure you get the information and support you need. This might be arranging a meeting for you to talk to us and receive emotional support in confidence, helping you to fill out a compensation form or get advice on how to make your home more secure, or referring you to other specialist organisations that can also help.
Specialist services in your area
As well as offering emotional and practical support to people affected by crime, we run a number of specialist services in Sussex, including:
- Sussex Young Witness Service
Since 2005, this project has enabled us to provide vital support to children and young people under 18 who have to attend court to give evidence in a trial.
- West Sussex Hate Crime Project
Commissioned by West Sussex County Council, we have been supporting victims of hate crime since 2008.
- Restorative Justice Project
We’re a key organisation in this partnership project, which is led by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner with funding from the Ministry of Justice. Working with Sussex Police, the Probation Service, HM prisons, the youth offending team, Sussex Pathways and PACT, we give victims the chance to have their say and perpetrators the opportunity to understand the impact of their crimes.
Someone we’ve helped
Last year we offered immediate support to nearly 29,000 people affected by crime in Sussex, and gave in-depth support to more than 2,500 people.
“I dread to think what I’d have done that day if I hadn’t spoken to Clare.”
Over the last year, Jess*, a victim of rape, has been receiving help from Victim Support’s Young Witness Service in Sussex. Here Jess describes how her caseworker Clare guided her through the toughest time of her life, bringing back her confidence and giving her hope for the future again.
Until I met Clare, I’d been petrified about going to court.
I had no idea what to expect and I was really worried. Three days before the trial I met Clare and everything started to get better. She showed me around the court, where I’d be sitting, who else would there. I remember being surprised at how small it was – court rooms always look massive on TV. This made me more nervous as everything seemed more intense, so I’m really glad I had a chance to see it beforehand and prepare myself.
After the court visit, Clare watched my video evidence with me.
We’d only met an hour earlier, but straightaway I felt really relaxed with her – she was so kind-natured and understanding. I was nervous about watching my evidence as I had no idea what I’d look like or sound like. Clare reassured me that we could stop at any point if I wanted to – she made sure I was comfortable. The video lasted nearly two hours and I was so happy to have Clare sitting beside me.
The first day of the trial was really stressful.
My lawyer suddenly had to withdraw from my case because of a family emergency. When I was told that another lawyer would take on my case, I panicked. He had just one night to prepare – how could he possibly know what to say? I was terrified that it would have a bad effect on my case. Clare gave me her number so that I could text her with my worries. She reassured me that this kind of thing happened all the time and that lawyers were professionals who knew exactly what they were doing. Later, I learnt that she was right.
Back in court, when I was about to give evidence, my knees were shaking.
Clare was so reassuring, telling me, “Come on Jess, you’ve already been so strong, you can do this.” I couldn’t have got through it without her.
After the trial, Clare and I met regularly.
I was finding things very difficult. I had kept things quiet from family so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. I’d always been a bubbly, outgoing person, but now I’d lost my confidence – I’d lost everything. I sat in my room all day for months, only going out to meet Clare. She was always there for me and because I knew she knew everything, it was really easy to talk to her.
Once I was in a really bad way.
I’d got myself in a right state. I was having a panic attack – I lost control, I felt no one cared and I didn’t know what to do. I felt that I was danger to myself. At that moment, the only person I felt I could talk to was Clare. I texted her and straightaway she phoned me back. We spoke for about half an hour and she calmed me down. Without her, I dread to think what I might have done that day. Clare really has been a life-saver.
I’d resisted counselling and anti-depressants because I wanted to get through things by myself.
Clare suggested I keep a diary to help me keep track of how my days were going. After a few weeks we looked back at it together and it was pretty shocking. It was clear I needed more help. Clare never told me what to do, but she did help me see there’s no shame in getting counselling or taking anti-depressants – loads of people do it. I had about 17 counselling sessions and they helped, and the anti-depressants made a huge difference. I’m so glad I decided to take them – I wish I hadn’t waited so long.
Clare handled my criminal injuries compensation claim for me.
At first I wasn’t interested in claiming as I was scared I’d have to bring everything up again. But Clare took care of the whole process on my behalf. It was a big shock when I was awarded the full amount. I never felt totally comfortable with the money because of what it represented, but it was still very helpful – I’d been out of work for eight months and I needed the income.
Clare has given me my confidence back.
Just yesterday I started a new job and that’s all thanks to Clare, who encouraged me to start thinking about finding work. I tell her how much she has helped me and she’s so humble, saying, “No, it’s you who has come through this, it’s not about me.” I say, “No Clare, it’s 100% down to you!” I’m getting back to the bubbly person I once was and I wouldn’t have got here without Clare’s support.
*Name changed to protect identity