Victim Support needs public support to continue support

Tasman service co-ordinator Donna Smith encourages people to get behind the voluntary organisation for their annual lottery.
RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Tasman service co-ordinator Donna Smith encourages people to get behind the voluntary organisation for their annual lottery.

In fatal crashes, they are there. In homicide cases, they are there. In serious assaults, they are there.

Victim Support is a year-round, 24/7 voluntary organisation which provides emotional and practical support to people in traumatic events.

Tasman service co-ordinator Donna Smith says her team works in the background, offering vital support in unexpected circumstances.

The nine volunteers that make up the Marlborough team are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, Donna says.

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"If there's a crash at 3am, they're out there. But that's the norm, that's what they do," she says.

But now, the service needs support itself.

It is partially funded by the Ministry of Justice and needs to raise 30 per cent of all costs by itself.

An annual lottery will be held to cover the cost of volunteer support, resources and more.

"For me, I think about this as making sure we have the funding that the victim needs," Donna says.

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"It's not always just the person directly affected that needs our help, but others such as wider family, first on the scene or witnesses."

The organisation works with victims from incident to resolution and requires public support to continue the work, Donna says.

"Nobody expects to be a victim or to have their life suddenly turned upside down," she says.

"We are here to help them through their difficult time, to navigate through the justice system, and to get back control of their lives.

"Our relationship with the victim is to empower their decision-making. We don't solve problems, but we work people through problems."

Although it is a national lottery, all money contributed from Marlborough stays in Marlborough, Donna says.

"That's a really important part for me, the money stays within the region," she says.

The total prize pool is valued at $42,000, which includes the top prize of a Honda HR-V. Lottery tickets will be on sale from August 26 to November 11. 

Locations to purchase the lottery tickets will be dotted throughout Marlborough, including the Springlands Shopping Centre. Tickets are $5 each or $20 for a book of five.

For more information on the lottery or to volunteer with the service, email donna.smith@victimsupport.org.nz.

 - The Marlborough Express

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