Spread the word to support victims of crime

Today is European Victims’ Day, and the start of a week-long campaign launched by Victim Support Scotland. In this guest blog, VSS explain why they're calling on the people of Scotland to raise awareness of the vital lifeline they offer people affected by crime.

Research says that over 800,000 crimes occur in Scotland each year and that 1 in 6 adults are a victim of crime. However, only 38 percent report the crime. There are many thousands of people who may be struggling with the experience and not know where to turn.

"I had never truly realised the impact the crime had on my life, lifestyle, relationships and my mental health. I struggled with confidence issues, relationships and depression for many years, and struggled to cope with everyday life...

"Victim Support has helped me every step of the way, from speaking to the police to get updates on the investigation, to providing me with explanations of the process and assurances that they would be there to support me every step of the way. They have helped me move on in life and assisted with the process of dealing with the crime. It has made a difficult subject and process so much easier to deal with knowing that they are there to support me and that I have someone to discuss anxieties with, ask questions or seek advice from."

VSS is a charity most people only know about if they need to use it. Each year it provides a lifeline to many thousands of victims and witnesses of all crime, but is relatively unknown.

Susan Gallagher, ACEO, says: "Victims often tell us that they thought we were here to support far more serious crimes than the one they experienced, but VSS is here for any victim or witness to any crime in Scotland, and their friends and family who may also be affected."

To mark the start the campaign, VSS is launching a new commercial and asking for your help. All this week VSS will be out and about in train stations, shopping malls and holding open days for people to come along and find out a bit more about us and what we do. You can meet staff and volunteers and hear first-hand how we help people in your community.

You can support us by coming along to an event, wearing one of our badges or a wristband, and by spreading the word about what we do. You can also join in by supporting us on social media – and all information on Victims’ Week 2016 is available on our website.

If you agree that people should get support after a crime, simply have a conversation about VSS with someone you know and discuss what it does…spread the word about VSS and the positive work it does to help people in Scotland!