VICTIM Support, the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime, is celebrating 40 years of helping people.

Victim Support in Dorset held an afternoon tea to celebrate the charity’s 40th anniversary year during Volunteers Week.

In attendance were volunteers and staff members who regularly work with crime victims across the county, along with the charity’s new chief executive Mark Castle.

From humble beginnings as a local community project, Victim Support has grown into the biggest charity in the world for victims and witnesses since its inception in 1974.

An estimated 55,000 people have volunteered for the charity and they have offered help and support to at least 30 million victims of crime. As well as helping victims of a wide range of crimes in Dorset, Victim Support has set up national services to support more than 200,000 witnesses in every single criminal court in England and Wales each year, and a national service in order to help families bereaved by homicide.

In Dorset, Victim Support runs a Schools Outreach project, educating schools leavers about personal safety and the dangers of drink spiking when away at university.

It is currently fundraising to set up drop-in centres across the county, where victims can get practical advice and emotional support in the aftermath of a crime.

Kerry McGeachy, senior service delivery manager for Victim Support in Dorset, said: “We are very proud of the work we have done nationally and, in Dorset, helping more than 7,000 victims of crime within the county last year alone.

“Our staff and volunteers make a real difference to so many people’s lives and we cannot thank them enough.

“We are proud to have been commissioned by Martin Underhill, Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, to provide an enhanced service to victims of crime in the county for the next three years. We will do all that we can to ensure victims’ needs are put at the forefront of the criminal justice process.

“Without our dedicated team of volunteers, none of our work would be possible. We really need some new volunteers to join our accredited team who support people in a crisis.

“We’d love to hear from people from all ages and backgrounds who might be willing to give a few hours a week.”

To find out more about the charity’s work in Dorset, to volunteer or to make a donation please visit or call 0117 947 3070. If you have been the victim of a crime, please call Victim Support’s victim care unit on 0845 456 6099.