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Volunteering: Michael's story

4 June 2019

Michael joined Victim Support as a volunteer as part of a university placement in December 2017. Today he’s still working with Victim Support and he spoke to us about his experience and his plans for the future.

“At the end of 2017 I joined Victim Support alongside two other students from Bangor University as part of a placement scheme. We were asked to commit to a year but I have really enjoyed my role so continued to volunteer.

“I’ve recently finished my degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. I’ve always been interested in that line of work since I was at school and particularly understanding why people commit crimes and why crime happens.

“In my role at Victim Support I started off with core cases supporting people over the phone and face to face and then about six months into my placement I did my advanced training to support sexual violence, domestic abuse and hate crime cases.  

“As a volunteer I usually manage around four cases at a time. Some clients I see once or twice a week and some less – it depends on them. Some people only have one session of support and some cases I’ve supported up to five months.

“It’s been really useful personally in terms of gaining experience and knowledge of working with vulnerable people and people whose lives are in turmoil and I’ve taken a lot from it.

“I’m thinking of applying to the probation service, which will be a different side of work, but still supporting people face to face which I enjoy.

“What I really enjoy about my role is the challenge of taking on new cases, such as when I started working with survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse which I hadn’t done before. 

“I would definitely recommend volunteering at Victim Support if you have the time to commit – it’s a great experience and I’ve learnt lots of new skills from my work here.”

Helen Graham, Service Delivery Manager at Victim Support who manages Michael said:

I observed Michael develop his self-confidence and sound decision making over a period of several months. This enabled him to enhance his support skills and he is now also accredited to be able to support Victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse and he has dealt with some complex cases.

“Michael has extended his commitment to North West Wales Service Delivery beyond what has been expected and provides a high level of support to Victims of crime in North West Wales, alongside the other North Wales Volunteers who also provide a high level of support and commitment.

“Michael recently supported a victim at Caernarfon Crown Court after an extensive period of support and at the request of the victim he attended in the capacity of observer and was able to provide emotional support at a critical time at the final hurdle. The client was able to complete a Victim Impact Statement which was read out in open court and in which they identified Michael, in his role as Victim Support volunteer, as a source of support for her which assisted them to be able to make the statement and come to terms with the impact of the crime. North Wales Service Delivery Team values each and every volunteer who gives up their time to support victims of crime across the whole of North Wales and celebrating Volunteers’ Week recognises all of their hard work.

Could you consider volunteering for us? We always need new volunteers to join our local teams so please view our current opportunities — we’d love to hear from you!

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