Tuesday 7th February, Janie Mortimer of Victim Support
Janie Mortimer is the Service Delivery Officer for Victim Support Ayrshire, part of Victim Support Scotland, an independent voluntary organisation, which provides free confidential, practical and emotional support and information to victims, witnesses and anyone affected by crime. Janie was the speaker at our Tuesday evening meeting.
She explained that trained staff and volunteers deliver their service throughout Scotland and in Ayrshire there are three community based Victim Services in North, East and South Ayrshire and two court based Witness Services (at Ayr and Kilmarnock Sheriff Courts). Janie emphasised they are not a government agency or part of the police and you don’t have to report a crime to the police to get our help.
She added that people can suffer greatly in the aftermath of crime and may experience a range of reactions, depending on the severity of the crime. These may include headaches, insomnia, anxiety, relationship problems and a temporary inability to cope with everyday living. These are all normal reactions following a crime, however some people may need help to deal with them. Everyone will be affected by crime at some point in life, either directly as a victim or witness of a crime or indirectly through family, friends or work. The Victim Service is available to help people with the aftermath of crime.
Victim Support provides victims with free and confidential emotional and practical assistance and information about the criminal justice system. Trained volunteers and staff deliver this assistance throughout Ayrshire. This support can be provided in a variety of different ways:
- They can visit at home or at a neutral location
- They can arrange an appointment in their offices
- They can provide support over the phone
- They can provide information about other specialist sources of help for victims
Again Janie emphasised that Victim Support does not provide financial assistance or professional counselling. She added that Victim Support Ayrshire can also help with Criminal Injuries Compensation
In conclusion, Janie talked about the Witness Service which is there to help people through the judicial process by providing, free, independent and confidential help together with practical and emotional support. The service is court based and in Ayrshire the service operates from Ayr and Kilmarnock Sheriff courts. This service is available to all witnesses, including both prosecution and defence regardless of age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability or social class. We will support victims and witnesses who attend court, victims and witnesses who are not called to attend court and families and friends of victims and witnesses.
John Ewing gave the vote of thanks