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Victim charity in Moray on volunteer recruitment drive as service is ‘pushed to limit’

Liz Kirwan and Jill Munro are both service delivery officers for Victim Support Scotland in Moray.
Liz Kirwan and Jill Munro are both service delivery officers for Victim Support Scotland in Moray.

A charity that supports vulnerable victims of crime in Moray says it is being “pushed to the limit” by staff shortages and increasing demand for its service.

Victim Support Scotland is currently able to call upon just seven volunteers in the region.

Each provides vital provide emotional help to those who have been affected by sexual assault, theft, stalking and other serious offences.

But the group’s complement is coming under an impossible strain while attempting to cope with more than 1,600 cases a year.

Now a recruitment drive has been launched by the charity to ensure victims and witnesses are supported when giving evidence.

Liz Kirwan, service delivery officer for the Elgin-based witness service, explained the role was critical to encourage people to testify in court to ensure culprits are brought to justice.

She said: “It’s quite daunting for a lot of people. By the time some people arrive in court they’ve sometimes completely frozen and want to pull out.

“It’s important somebody is there just to provide that emotional support and tell them that court is not like it is shown on television and in the movies. Nobody is going to shout and bawl at them.

“At the moment, however, we only have seven volunteers in the area so we are really pushed to the limit for what we can do.”

The charity provides support to victims who have been affected by crime, even if the incident has not been reported to the police.

Professions already volunteering with the group include police officers, teachers and health workers.

Jill Munro, service delivery officer for the victim service, explained the team was available to meet people affected up to several years after an incident as they continue their recovery.

She added: “We can get involved a significant time before something is reported, for instance domestic abuse where it can carry on for a while before they go to the police.

“Sometimes we still go to see people several years later if they have been the victim of something particularly serious.

“Quite often people just want to be listened to by someone who won’t judge them.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the charity should call 01343 544607 or e-mail victimsupport.moray@victimsupportsco.org.uk.

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