Witness support officer
Victim care officers support people who’ve been affected by crime.
Salary range: £16,000 to £25,000
How to become a victim care officer
You can get into this job through:
- applying directly
Volunteering and experience
A common way into this job is to start as a volunteer with a victim or witness care organisation like Victim Support. You can also search for volunteering opportunities through general volunteering organisations like Do-it and NCVO.
As a volunteer, you would receive training, which would help you to develop your communication and listening skills, as well as the knowledge and understanding you need to support victims.
To volunteer, you normally need to be over 18 and of good character, with a caring nature and non-judgemental attitude. The ability to communicate in a second community-based language could be useful in some situations.
You may need between 1 and 2 years’ experience as a volunteer before being considered for paid work.
You can move into this career if you have experience from related areas, like working with vulnerable adults in social services, a community setting or through counselling.
Experience of working in the justice system, for instance with the police, courts or prisons, would also be useful.
You can get more details about this career from Victim Support.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- to enjoy working with other people
- customer service skills
- knowledge of psychology
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
You’ll support clients at their home or over the phone. On a daily basis you could be:
- reassuring clients that the events were not their fault and their reactions are normal
- getting a personal attack alarm for someone who feels unsafe
- arranging for a Police Community Support Officer to visit
- providing an objective viewpoint, possibly including information on legal processes
- training and supervising volunteers
- making sure that clients have access to other relevant services and agencies
You could work in an office or at a client’s home.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a senior victim care officer, unit or area manager, with responsibilities for a number of centres, staff and volunteers.
You could also move into witness care, with a greater focus on the legal and judicial system and making sure witnesses attend court.