I studied Criminology with Counselling at the University of Salford. I was part of the first academic year to undertake this course with them, completing my degree in April 2020.
I am from Salford myself, and for me being a mature student, with a job, family, relationship, etc, I wanted to complete my education from my hometown. I had other aspects of my life still to develop in and moving away to another city was not something I wanted to do. Luckily Salford had the perfect course for me. I wanted to work with victims of crime, so having the criminology with the counselling skills aspect was an ideal course for me.
Why Criminology with Counselling?
The reasons behind my desires could probably fill a book! I believe that more often than not, when someone wants to work within care or supportive role, it is from their own personal experiences. For me, I did have dealings with the criminal justice process and needed counselling support in the past. I had been working in a solicitor’s firm for around 4 or so years prior and I knew that I wanted to change my career path from a legal role.
What was the course like?
A degree is always the essential start to a career. and this course gave me the start of the building blocks needed to progress into the career I wanted. Others on my course felt the same, and went in different directions, such as into the police, local council or social services. University really does give you the education that is needed in these important roles.
I really benefitted from the different opportunities and facilities at Salford. I undertook a grammar class after normal lectures and just having access to a proper library and computers helped with my assignments. The tutors were great and helped me to find my placement.
What can you do with a Criminology with Counselling Degree?
I always knew the I wanted to pursue a job where I would be supporting victims of a crime, supporting with the initial impact it has on a person and helping them to find strategies to cope. This is why the counselling aspect of the course was so important to me, not only did I need the information around courts, victimology, police and social control, I also needed to know how to speak to people, listen and understand, and plan how to give intervention. The people contact aspect of support was always strong for me.
I took the placement module in my final year. I was already volunteering with the police and their low-risk domestic abuse follow up support services, and when I explained this to my tutor, they suggested that I use this as my placement. I continued with them on placement and excelled greatly. I believe the placement was what got me my current job, I’m not sure I’d have got an offer by having the degree alone. It is essential that you put in the additional effort alongside your degree to gain relevant experience.
For most of my education, I was looking into being a family liaison officer with GMP. However when I looked into this and arranged a 'consultation' with a detective in a local police station about this, it became apparent that these roles aren't so common, so I decided to go down the charity pathway, rather than a police pathway.
When I finished university I went on to work for Victim Support. I am now an IVA - this is an Independent Victim Advocate. And I offer initial support and advice services to those who report incidents to the police, on all ranges and aspects of crimes. I am starting on an all-rounded basis of crime types but the job does give that opportunity to develop or transfer into particular areas if wanted, such as sexual assault, domestic abuse, etc.