Since 1998 VOCAL has received financial support to offer a victims support service in the Hunter Region of NSW from the NSW Government, Department of Justice, which permitted us to employ some paid staff . VOCAL values its fantastic volunteers without whom it would be impossible to function.
Unfortunately it is a growth industry, and life seems to be becoming more complicated than ever.
As it was unskilled victims and grieving relatives, whose life tragedies led to positive support for others, so today, 25 years later we continue to pioneer victim-inclusive strategies and offer today’s victims the opportunity to speak about their experiences and how they were treated. The idea of fair treatment and justice for victims has a long way to go.
Many things have changed for victims of violent crime in NSW since 1989:-
- There is a coordinated government response to providing counselling and compensation to some victims of some personal, violent crimes.
- There are now many more services directed to assisting some victims of specific types of crime – like Domestic Violence, Homicide, Sexual Assault, Incest, Child abuse etc.
VOCAL makes referrals to relevant services where they exist and where they do not exist, we fill in lots of gaps; big gaps. Complex gaps. Gaps that harm people. Crime can impact and mess up any aspect of life – sometimes forever. Helping victims survive and move forward in life is important work. The system is important, but it is only part of what many victims need to address, after a crime. In fact, the majority of victims never get to court, can’t get victims compensation, but that doesn’t mean the harm and impact they suffered isn’t important or supportable.
Today, VOCAL Inc NSW remains a unique service because it is a generalist, holistic service:
- For any person who has been threatened, bullied or harmed
- For victims of any crime, especially violent crime or similar tragedy
- Through any stage of life after crime, including – but not limited to ‘the systems’
We still want appropriate services to be available to everyone who needs them, not just selected services for specified victim types. By working together as a team, combining our experiences and skills, and determined to do the very best we can, we assist people – victims, relatives, friends, witnesses, service providers and communities affected and harmed by any type of crime, particularly violent crime. We’ll try. Any victim, any issue, at any time.