More helpers wanted

CHE BAKER IN ALEXANDRA
Last updated 13:40 20/02/2013
Southland Times photo
CHE BAKER/Fairfax NZ

Victim Support service co-ordinator Rachael Brown holds a poster asking for members of the community to consider becoming a support worker.

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Central Otago Victim Support is in desperate need of volunteers with the service unable to manage the number of people needing help after being a target of crime or suffering trauma in the region.

Victim Support service co-ordinator Rachael Brown said the support service was understaffed and every town in the region was crying out for more helpers.

There were 12 support staff working throughout the district and at least another 10 were needed, Ms Brown said.

Cromwell and Roxburgh were extremely under-staffed areas, she said.

"Car crash, sudden death, burglary - these are the traumas New Zealanders can face on any given day. Victim support is there to ease the burden," Ms Brown said.

Everyday about 1000 crimes were reported to police across New Zealand.

Of the 14,000 serious crimes reported across the country last year, Central Otago volunteers provided support to 315 victims of serious crime.

Those who were good listeners, had empathy and were non-judgmental were the qualities of person needed in the role.

Volunteers helped victims cope with grief and worked closely with police, often going with police to notify families of a sudden death.

"It would be great to give them (current volunteers) some down-time," Ms Brown said.

The service will be hosting a volunteers drive in March in a bid to get more helpers on board, she said.

Central Otago sub area commander senior sergeant Ian Kerrisk said "why Victim Support is so important is that they can spend that extra time with victims and their families".

Emergency services crews from police, fire and ambulance all worked together to provide the best outcome in a situation and Victim Support services were another important branch of that, Mr Kerrisk said.

The next training session for those who are willing to become a support volunteer would take place between March 22 and 24.

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