Victim support worker

A victim support worker (VSW) is a person with a specialized training in the field of victim support, whose job is to identify, to accompany, and to provide support to victims of crime.

The VSW understands how the victim feels and what they go through after experiencing a crime. In that sense, their job is to help the victim overcoming or, at least, mitigating the impacts of the crime. For this purpose, a VSW is endowed to provide several kinds of support, including emotional, psychological and legal support, in addition to help in solving practical issues that followed from the crime, e.g. providing information, helping with applications to a public benefit, etc.

To perform these duties, VSW have a number of professional and personal skills. In addition to holding academic qualifications in an area closely related to the needs of crime victims (such as criminology, psychology, law, social services, among others), they have received specialized training in victim support. Therefore, they have in-depth knowledge about the consequences of victimization, victim’s reactions, available support services, etc., over which they can provide information.

At a personal level, VSW are able to listen to the victim, understand their fragility at this time and provide emotional support, accept what the victim is willing to tell and what he/she is not willing to talk about and respect their decisions, even though they don’t agree with such decisions because they do not consider them in the victim’s best interest.

When interacting with the justice system, victims can be accompanied by VSW. In these moments, in order to reduce anxiety, it is not only important for victims to know what to expect from each legal step beforehand, as it is also crucial to have someone, they trust with them. In this respect, VSW can provide support to both victims and witnesses by means of accompanying them to court, to the police and while forensic exams are being conducted, in addition to show them around the court, explain how the judicial procedure works and answer all the doubts and questions they might have regarding the legal procedure.

I was a victim of crime: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of crime Criminal proceedings Who’s who in criminal proceedings


Top Map Exit