The victim support officer*
is an APAV
worker with the proper qualifications whose job is to identify, accompany and provide support to victims of crime
The victim support officer understands how the victim feels
and what they are going through after the crime and it is his/her job to help the victim overcome or, at least, mitigate its impact.
To perform these duties
, victim support officers have a number of professional and personal skills. In addition to holding academic qualifications in an area closely related to the needs of crime victims, such as psychology, law, social services, among others, they have received specialised training in victim support. Therefore, they have in-depth knowledge about issues such as the consequences of victimisation, victim's reactions, and available support services, etc.
At a personal level
, these officers are able to listen to the victim, understand their fragility at this time and provide emotional support, accept what the victim is willing to tell and also what he/she is not willing to talk about and respect their decisions, even when they don’t agree with them because they consider that they are not the best for the victim.
When necessary, a victim support officer can accompany the victim to court
or to the police, or while forensic exams
are being conducted. At these times, it is important for the victim to have someone with them who they can trust and who can provide support.
*In Portuguese: técnico de apoio à vítima.
This term is an APAV registered trademark.