Name: Charlotte Hooper
Course: BSc Policing and Criminal Justice 3rd Year
Volunteer Award: Community Volunteer of the Month
'I’m an avid learner and my role continuously provides me with new challenges and opportunities to broaden my knowledge and skills in many areas'
What are your main duties and how do they benefit others?
I have volunteered in a number of roles, however, my primary role is for The Cyber Helpline where I am a Director and the Helpline Manager. I started in the organization as a Helpline Responder, assisting victims of varying forms of cybercrime, from hacked bank accounts to cyberstalking. I now manage our team of Helpline Responders, a group of cybersecurity professionals from across the UK and support the organizations growth to improve support for victims of cybercrime.
I continue to help victims of cybercrime but specialize in vulnerable victims of cyberstalking. I also provide training on cyberstalking to a number of agencies who may encounter victims of cyberstalking including police and charities.
What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?
Volunteering has been an incredibly rewarding experience the idea that I can help people going through a difficult time who might otherwise not have access to the support they require and would not know what to do next. Having someone familiar with their issue who can work through the process of reporting, recovering and defending themselves from future attacks with them - at a pace that works for them - can make a massive difference to the issue they’re experiencing. We are continuously seeing more and more cases, showing this service is really needed, and being a part of that is incredible.
What skills have you learnt and used during your volunteering?
I’m an avid learner and my role continuously provides me with new challenges and opportunities to broaden my knowledge and skills in many areas. The Cyber Helpline was my first experience working at a senior management level, I have greatly managed to improve my management and leadership skills because of this whilst also developing my skills in empathy and communication, especially when talking to someone who may need additional help in understanding technology.
What are your future career aspirations?
When I started my course, I was sure that I would be working in the prison service. However, The Cyber Helpline has given me a passion for victim support and cyber security so has greatly shaped my career path. It has allowed me to network with others in the industry and given me a taster of what to expect from this career.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I initially joined The Cyber Helpline as a placement for my degree but decided to stay on as I was inspired by the rest of the team as well as the positive comments from victims of cybercrime who it was clear that the service had made such a difference to.
What is your favourite volunteering memory?
I couldn't name one in particular, but bringing a case to a close is always an amazing feeling and a few come to mind where the victim has achieved what they wanted from us, whether that be the conviction of the perpetrator or getting money back from a financial crime. That is always an amazing feeling.
Why do you love volunteering?
Alongside the sense of achievement, knowing that I am doing something that is making a difference to someone's life is the most important thing to me. However, the skills that I have gained from volunteering are extremely valuable and it has made such a difference to my life too.
Do you have any last thoughts or comments?
Next month I will be the first paid employee of The Cyber Helpline! I'm really excited for this journey.