The Bailiwick of Guernsey Victim Support and Witness Service is an independent charitable organisation supporting both victims and witnesses of crime.
The Victim Support and Witness Service is a registered charity that 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 17 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.
- We offer support to victims and witnesses of any crime, including:-
- - Criminal damage
- - Hate Crimes
- - Burglary
- - Witnesses to violent crimes
- - Arson
- - Relatives & friends of homicide victims
- - Assault
- - Rape & sexual offences ( Recent and Historic)
- - Theft
- - Domestic abuse, any sexuality
- - Deception and fraud
- - Kidnapping, false imprisonment, abduction
- - Harassment & antisocial behaviour
- - Threats to kill
- Threats and verbal abuse are forms of violence, just as much as physical attacks. These crimes can take place anywhere, at home, in the street, in clubs & pubs and at work. Often people know the person who threatens them. It can be a very frightening experience and victims are sometimes surprised by how strongly they are affected and how worried they are that the attack may be repeated.
- Regardless of how long ago a crime took place the effects can 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 regardless of how long ago the crime took place and whether or not the crime was reported.
- We know that it can be difficult to talk about the effects of crime but find that most people feel helped by talking to someone who understands.
- The Witness Service was officially launched on 18 May 2006 and we have a quiet self-contained witness suite in which to wait with volunteers who can accompany witnesses into court when giving evidence if needed and also provide information about the outcome of the case.
- We support prosecution and defence witnesses, children as well as adults, but cannot discuss evidence, give legal advice or views on sentencing.
- Witness Service staff and volunteers can provide someone to talk to in confidence, a chance to see the court beforehand and to learn about court procedures and the roles of the various people in the court.
- Many witnesses feel worried about going to court, regardless of whether or not they were the victim of the crime.
- They may not know what to expect or how to find out about court procedures, court layout or the role of the various people working at the court.
- They may find it difficult to give evidence, especially if it means talking about unpleasant events in public, including accusing another person of committing a crime.
- They may not feel prepared for the process of cross-examination which can sometimes feel very critical or even humiliating.
- 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.
- Our volunteers ensure victims and witnesses never feel alone, supporting them before, during and after a court case.
- 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.
- We also support and work alongside other people who may accompany a witness, for example a parent, carer, social worker or interpreter.
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.
Crime has no boundaries and can affect any of us at any time.
Victim Support are based within the Court building and can be contacted by:
Phone: 01481 713000
Donations: Giving.gg (Bailiwick of Guernsey Victim Support & Witness Service)