Victim Support was set up in 1972 in Bristol and became a charity in 1974. It was started because there was little or no help on offer for victims of crime. The charity's founders were a group of people, who included members of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (now NACRO) and others from the police and probation service. The first Victim Support group was organised in Bristol in 1974 and other groups followed around the UK. In 1979 these groups came together under an 'umbrella body’ – the National Association of Victims Support Schemes. In 2008 all local Victim Support groups merged to create one national federation in England and Wales. The charity ran a Witness Service from 1989 until April 2015. The service supports people who testify in criminal trials in England and Wales, notably those in Operation Yewtree. The service continues to be funded by the Ministry of Justice. Since 1985 the charity has run a service supporting people bereaved by murder or manslaughter. The Ministry of Justice funded that work from 2010, awarding the contract to run the service to Victim Support from 2010 to at least 2017. The charity is a founding member of Victim Support Europe which was established in 1990.
Support for victims of crime: Trained volunteers and employees offer free, confidential, practical, emotional and financial support to victims of crime. The charity offers support to around 1 million victims of crime per year. People may seek practical or emotional help, for example, making their home secure after a burglary, applying for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, getting re-housed, or asking for counselling through a GP.
Victim Supportline a telephone helpline for victims, witnesses and family and friends of victims and witnesses - 08 08 16 89 111.
Specialist services for victims of crime include:-
- a national "homicide service", helping families in England and Wales who've been bereaved by murder or manslaughter
- local services helping victims of domestic or sexual violence, exploitation, anti-social behaviour, or hate crime
- using restorative justice to help victims
Research: A small team look into the issues facing victims of crime and make recommendations, based on evidence, on how to tackle those problems to government, police, criminal justice and other organisations.
Fundraising: The charity is funded by public donations along with funding awards made by grant-making bodies and the public sector.
"Suffering in silence: children and unreported crime", December 2014,
Rights for Victims of Crime, 1995
President: HRH The Princess Royal
Chair: Catherine Dudmore
Chief Executive: Mark Castle