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Become a Voice Volunteer

Our volunteers are an essential and valued part of the Voice team. Without them we wouldn’t be able to help and support as many people as we do.

Voice volunteers help people who have experienced crime in a variety of ways; from acting as case workers to providing telephone support and liaising with other agencies.

Why should I become a Voice Volunteer?

Becoming a volunteer will equip you with new skills and provide huge personal satisfaction as you help others move forward in their life.

Giving back to your community and helping those in unfortunate positions is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Along the way you’ll meet likeminded people, share a few laughs and gain an enormous sense of fulfilment. You may even be able to get time of work to volunteer with us from your employer, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

What training will I receive?

We’ll train you to feel calm, comfortable, confident and knowledgeable in order to be able to support victims and witnesses of crime who have contacted Voice as a result of many different situations.

You’ll be able to listen, empathise and help the people you meet to regain the strength to move on and thrive following crime.

Basic training involves learning about how the criminal justice system works; how to access support services; personal safety and the impact of crime on people. We have a wealth of training on offer for anyone who joins us; including regular one to ones with experience members of staff, access to volunteer eForums, eLearning and much, much more.

We’re always looking for passionate volunteers in several different areas. As a result, we can help you chose the path that’s right for you. As well as providing practical support to those who have experienced crime, we also have volunteering opportunities within our Voice offices, which may involve administration or working on special projects.

What experience or qualifications do I need?

You don’t need any qualifications or previous experience to volunteer with Voice. All we ask is that you’re over the age of 18, have a willingness to help and can spare a little time. We’ll do the rest.

Get in touch to find out more

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can fill in the form below, or send us an email at info@voicenorthants.org. Alternatively, call us on 0300 303 1965.

As part of processing your volunteer application, we’ll complete a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (formally known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check). This is for the protection of the people we help. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from volunteering for Voice.

Hear from our volunteers

Ron has been a Voice Volunteer for ten years and has helped thousands of people with the emotional support needed to recover from crime. His role has involved everything from talking to people bereaved by murder, to helping people who are being victimised by organisations and he now specialises in supporting people suffering from domestic abuse.

What does being a Voice Volunteer involve?

Everyone who volunteers for Voice is given comprehensive training before being able to provide support to someone affected by crime.

To start with I completed a four-day course, on which I learnt how a person can be affected by crime and how that impacts on that person, whether it is physiological, psychological, behavioral, or financial. We were shown how we can use our listening and empathy skills in our support to that person to aid them to ultimately recover and thrive from their experience.

What do you learn through your training?

We were also taught all about the criminal justice process and the support services that are available to myself and other volunteers that will aid us to give support. This includes learning processes to safeguard a person if I feel that they or another person are in danger of any harm.

Following the training, a member of staff from Voice sat in on a few of my support sessions to ensure that I was comfortable using the skills that I had developed. After this I was able to deliver support myself with assistance from the Voice staff if needed.

Once I had been volunteering for a while and had developed my skills and experience I then attended additional training in the impact of domestic and sexual abuse to enable me to provide support to people who had experienced these types of crime. I now support people affected by any type of crime no matter who they are.

What happens when you are referred someone to help?

When you are referred a case (which may be a self-referral, or have come from the police or another agency) then the first thing you do is arrange an initial phone call with the person who has been affected by crime. During this call you will listen to the needs of the person and typically by the time that the person speaks to you they are at the end of their tether and everything has become too much for them.

My main role is to support them and help them to resolve the situation they are faced with. I will always arrange a follow up call for a few days later and then typically will speak to someone for an hour a week. This will be at a pre-arranged time, or if the person prefers it can be a face-to-face meeting. If I am helping someone who is suffering domestic abuse then I will also help him or her with practical matters, such as telling them to have an emergency bag packed with so that if they are in danger they can take this and leave.

I will also try and set someone a goal each time we meet that we can talk about the next time we speak. This may be very small and unrelated to what they are going through – for example painting a bedroom wall but it can help someone who has been constantly criticised to find some confidence.

What help do you give to people?

When we speak and I listen to someone I can also offer a different, independent perspective on what they are going through. I will always tell someone that there is no excuse for violence of any kind and that what is happening is wrong. However I will not judge someone and if a person who is suffering domestic abuse tells me that they are not going to leave their partner then I say that I shall support you in that decision.

My main role is to be there to listen to someone and support them in what they choose to do.

I will help people with whatever situation they face – be it practical or emotional support. So this may involve writing letters on the person’s behalf, contacting other agencies or it could just be a listening ear for that person to talk to. I will give support to someone for as long as they need it and no case is typical. I have been helping one disabled man who is being discriminated against, for the past 18 months and will continue to do so until his situation is resolved.

Why did you become a Voice Volunteer?

I hate injustice in any form and I try to do what I can to help people have been treated wrongly. When I get a call from someone who has managed to escape a domestic abuse situation it is just fantastic. That makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

It is so wonderful to see someone who has been in a lot of distress suddenly smiling. You can see their whole demeanour change as they become more confident.

In one case I went to visit a young family who had had their front door smashed in during the middle of the night. They were living in pretty poor circumstances and were really struggling. I helped them with the practicalities, such as getting the door quickly fixed, but then also put them in touch with other agencies that could help them. When I left the young man said to me ‘I cant thank you enough’ and that was just amazing.

What are the challenges that you face as a volunteer?

It can be very emotional at times to hear about the things that some people may be going through.

I did not think that I would be able to help those who had been affected by murder, but I did the training and was given the case of a man whose friend had been killed. In our initial meetings he was not happy to talk and had his armed crossed, but after a while I realized he was angry with this friend for dying. When I put this to him he started to cry and was able to open up to me.

When I bumped into him months later he said, ‘you have changed my life’. That was an amazing feeling.

 How has volunteering changed you?

It has made me more outgoing. Like most people, I used to be scared about speaking in public, but I am ok with it now. I recently gave a talk to a women’s fellowship and afterwards did a question and answer session. I am also now much less likely to jump to a judgment and stereotype people, as I know that anyone can find themselves in a situation in which they need help and support.

I have been volunteering for the past ten years and want to go on doing it for as long as I am able to.

What does being part of the Voice volunteer team involve?

Your manager gives you a lot of support and you can also speak to other volunteers and the staff in the office. You are never left along to deal with matters.

 What skills do you need to become a volunteer?

I think the main thing that you need to have is empathy and to be able to listen without judging. You need to be level headed and be able to speak to people without being too emotional. You may be told about some terrible things that have happened or are happening to someone but you cannot break down in tears. However you are given incredible training to ensure that you are able to handle most situations and the more cases you deal with the easier it gets.

Why should someone become a volunteer?

It is just a fantastic thing to do and the support that you give to someone really can change their life. If someone says thank you that is the best reward.

Volunteering for Voice is one of the things in my life that I am most proud of.