Whether it’s a break and enter, physical injury, or losing a loved one to violent crime, being a victim or a survivor of crime can be a traumatic event in one’s life. Victims and survivors need support systems to lean on, whether it’s to help them heal, find safety, or guidance and support through a difficult judicial process. With those reasons in mind, hundreds of programs across the country that offer support, research and education.
The Victim Services program in Saskatoon opened its doors in May of 1993. Their role is two-fold and may be described as facilitators and liaisons and help victims maneuver through the Criminal Justice System. Since 1993, client load has increased by over 100 clients per month. Contact is initiated with 400-500 victims monthly.
Victim Services provides victims and survivors of crime with information and support to make the best choices for themselves. Support workers provide victims with resources in the community such as counseling agencies, support groups, shelters and information about financial resources available.
In 1997, Victim Services began delivering services to victims in the rural areas surrounding Saskatoon. The RCMP proposed a partnership with Victim Services so that members of Saskatoon and Warman Detachments could utilize the services offered to the residents of Saskatoon. This partnership increased our population base by approximately 20,000 people.
The addition of the Aboriginal Resource Officers added an expertise on Indigenous issues. Many of the clients served are of Indigenous ancestry and in order to ensure a culturally appropriate and sensitive service for Indigenous victims, it is necessary to have such a resource available.
As we recognize this week as Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, we want to take a moment to acknowledge and give thanks to the staff and volunteers of our Victim Services that do so much work during and after investigations to help those that need it.