​Working with volunteers in victim support: mirror or camouflage?

Author(s) Roose, Rudi, Griet Verschelden, Nicole Vettenburg and Tine Vanthuyne
Title Working with volunteers in victim support: mirror or camouflage?
Source International Social Work; March 2012; Vol.55, No.2, p269-281
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Coverage Belgium
Summary In this article the authors explore specialised victim support and the role of volunteers and suggest there should be a generic basis of victim services. The article discusses the notion of volunteers functioning as camouflage or as a mirror for professional social work. Victim services in Flanders have involved volunteers since 1995 and positive advantages of this practice are discussed, including the economic value to services; the message victims may receive, that is, they do not need necessarily need specialised care but the victim can benefit from the holistic support of volunteers; the benefits for volunteers; and the benefits to society. Volunteers can mirror professionals' work while they develop victim support practice but the authors suggest this can become camouflage as traditionally the importance of volunteers has been viewed from the relational aspect of social work and professionals develop technical competencies. The importance of developing victim support as a shared responsibility between volunteers and paid professionals is emphasised.
Keywords Victim support; volunteers; holistic support; social work; Belgium
Topic Service delivery