Giving back to Victim Support

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014
Curling NST

HELPING OTHERS: Peter and Heidi are volunteers for North Shore Victim Support. More volunteers, particularly from Asian communities, are needed for this year’s intake.

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After the loss of her brother in a head-on car crash in Taupo, Heidi was more than 250 kilometres away in Auckland and facing the prospect of being alone while grieving.

But two strangers turned up: North Shore Victim Support volunteers who give their time to visit and support those going through tragedy.

The benefits of having someone to talk with, someone distanced from the emotion of the situation, were invaluable, Heidi says.

You never really get over losing someone but victim support helps people get through, she says.

Their visit left her feeling reassured and validated, and Heidi was able to complete a victim impact statement with their help.

Now, eight years later, she commits some of her time to the same organisation to pass on the support that she was so grateful for.

Heidi trained during victim support's intake last year and reconnected with the volunteers who knocked on her door in her time of need.

New volunteers are buddied with experienced ones when sent out to visit people to learn on the job, Heidi says.

"You're never alone, you've got other volunteers and you got constant support."

Robust, comprehensive training is provided.

The only expectation is for volunteers to do one 12-hour shift a week, fellow volunteer Peter says.

Every situation is different with supporters being sent to families who have experienced a sudden death, homicide, assault or burglaries, he says.

The victim support volunteer of four years says people from all walks of life are welcome to apply for the programme.

There is a particular need for people who speak other languages, such as Chinese and Korean.

North Shore Victim Support's next training will be held on April 26 and 27 and is ongoing once a month.

Call 0800 865 868 or visit victimsupport.org.nz for more information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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