“I’ve always been a ‘people person’,” Wayne says.
“I used to work in retail and I really enjoyed meeting new people and helping them find what they needed. I think that’s what drew me towards volunteering with Victim Support, that love of being of service to others.”
Now retired, Wayne lives in Pahiatua and often travels to support victims of crime and trauma, including trips to Feilding, Norsewood, Eketāhuna and Otaki. He is rostered on two nights a week, but is always available if he’s needed.
A trained homicide and family harm and violence support worker, Wayne can have up to 15 clients on his roster. For some people, a regular phone to call to check in is all that’s needed. For others, Wayne will support them through court cases or Police processes.
“One thing you come to understand is that no matter how often you deal with a situation, it can be different each time,” says Wayne.
“Some people you can connect with straight away, for others they’re in a bit of haze and they might not know what they need. It’s once all the arrangements have been made, and they’ve had time to stop and think that they need my help,” he says.
Building relationships is key to his role, Wayne says. This includes not only the relationships he builds with his clients, but also other organisations and other support workers.
“Sometimes the best thing we can do for people is give them information on other services that can add another layer of support for them, especially if they don’t have family or friends that they can rely on,” he says.
“The Victim Support website has a lot of great resources on it, and I often find myself referring people to it. That way they can read the information in their own time and not feel overwhelmed.
“We also have regular training sessions and get-togethers with other support workers” says Wayne.
“We’ll share our experiences and look at case studies, and talk about how we would approach those situation. We’re a support network for each other as much as our clients.”
If you'd like to be there to help others in your community like Wayne, we’d love to hear from you! Click here to find out more about becoming a Volunteer Support Worker.