The Bailiwick of Guernsey Victim Support and Witness Service is an independent charitable organisation supporting both victims and witnesses of crime and has been in existence in the Bailiwick since 1998 providing an essential service in our community.
We provide a free, confidential service to victims and witnesses of any crime and their family and friends, regardless of when the crime occurred and whether or not it was reported. We also support those who feel vulnerable when attending the Domestic Proceedings or Matrimonial Courts.
The Service is run by three part-time members of staff who coordinate the day to day running of the service as well as a team of 19 dedicated volunteers whose support enables us to provide a highly professional but cost effective service.
We are non- judgemental and support people regardless of their age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion or beliefs. Although we work very closely with the Police and the Courts we are totally independent of them.
Both of our services operate from a quiet self-contained suite, based on the ground floor of the Court building.
What does Victim Support and Witness Service do?
- Victim Support and Witness Service staff and volunteers are highly trained to provide emotional support, practical help and information to anybody who has experienced a crime.
- We contact people by phone, letter, or in person, according to the particular sensitivity of the situation and can arrange for our trained personnel to see people in their own homes, our office, or at a place that is safe and convenient for them.
- We will listen while people talk through their feelings and reactions to the crime and help find the way that best suits them to overcome these effects.
- We identify the help and support that will most usefully meet the person's needs and expectations. If specialised help is wanted we will assist with finding that help through our collaborative work with other agencies.
- Regardless of how long ago a crime took place, the effects may continue to impact on a person's life many years after the event. It may also take some time for a person to recognise that the difficulties they are experiencing are related to that crime. Victim support recognises this and offers support whenever it is needed.
- The Witness Service provides pre-trial visits to the courtroom to help victims and witnesses feel at ease with the court procedure. We provide clear information and guidance at every stage of the journey through the criminal justice process and to those attending other Courts.
- The Witness Service gives victims and witnesses the chance to talk over the case when it has ended and can liaise with other statutory or voluntary agencies where requested by victims/witnesses for more specialist support.
- Our volunteers ensure victims and witnesses never feel alone, supporting them before, during and after a court case.
- We also support and work alongside other people who may accompany a witness, for example a parent, carer, social worker, interpreter or intermediary.
- We support prosecution and defence witnesses, children as well as adults, but cannot discuss evidence, give legal advice or views on sentencing.
- The Victim Support and Witness Service ensures that victims and witnesses have the best possible experience of support on both a practical and emotional level at what can be a very traumatic and challenging time, this ensures that justice is more likely to be served, making the Island a safer place.
- Crime has no boundaries and can affect any of us at any time.