Trail council is requesting a report on Greater Trail Victim Services. (Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash)

City of Trail seeks Victim Services report

Program works closely with the RCMP for people experiencing trauma

All aspects of policing in the City of Trail have been at the forefront of council’s agenda this year, including the formation of a Safety Task Force, upping the presence of Citizens on Patrol, and the potential hiring of a Community Safety Coordinator.

Previous: GT Victim Services takes more proactive role

Now, to gain a better understanding of what happens after crimes are perpetrated and/or when tragic events occur, municipal leaders are zeroing in on Greater Trail Victim Services, which is a resource run through the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Instead of going all in and requesting a formal review, Trail council is first asking the regional district for a report on the service, such as who is accessing the program and to what extent.

“With respect to victims assistance, what the city council decided was that we would ask the regional district to provide a management report and metrics in order to assess whether or not council wishes to proceed with the regional service review,” Mayor Lisa Pasin told the Trail Times post-council on Monday.

“We are partial funders for the service, but we don’t really get any formal reporting,” she said. “We are just wanting to have a better understanding of what exactly the victims assistance is providing. It would be reporting that included how many participants were served per month, and what are some of the issues they are taking care of,” Pasin clarified.

“The reporting (will) protect the participant’s privacy, but it will still allow us to see what kind of value the service is providing, and also really assess the trends as well.”

The City of Trail pays 42 per cent of the “East End” service, or $33,000 annually. The other six contributors are Rossland, Warfield, Montrose and Fruitvale, as well as Areas A and B.

The municipality requested that the service be further assessed in 2016 when the annual requisition was collectively increased from $62,500 to $87,000.

That review never happened. So with the magnifying glass back on crime in the city, and the perception that crime is on the rise, Pasin says that now is the time to look at the full picture.

“Is the (service) static, is it increasing, what is the level of service that is being provided, even down to what hours of operation they are running,” Pasin said. “It’s really just trying to get some kind of greater understanding on what is happening with that service.”

Pasin says there are very few services with the regional district that municipalities can opt out of.

“So, for those that are more discretionary in nature, I think it’s important for us to feel that we are getting value,” she said. “Also, it does tie in very nicely with the work that we are doing with policing, when you are looking at potentially the optic of increasing crime, the changing demographic of crime, and if there any linkage to further outreach that is happening to victims assistance as a result.”

The Greater Trail Victim Services program works closely with the RCMP to offer victim services to people in the region who may have experienced trauma because of crime or another disturbing event.

The team is located in the Trail and Greater District RCMP detachment and includes professionally trained staff and volunteers who operate 24/7 to ensure victims have immediate support following a traumatic experience.

Anyone who needs help or knows someone who needs help can call 250-368-2184 or 250-364-2566.

“We are just trying to really analyze and take a comprehensive look at all aspects of crime,” Pasin concluded. “And what the city can do, what’s the best way to engage, what’s the best way to support our citizens through this and really make strategic investments.”

A service review is one tool that can be used to assist council as part of assessing a regional service and whether or not Trail taxpayers are receiving an appropriate benefit.

Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff noted that some other communities in the RDKB have withdrawn from regional services but are now being allowed to participate on more of an “ad hoc” basis.

“Perhaps as part of a service review this is an approach Council may want to explore if withdrawal is seen to be the appropriate course of action,” he said. “And the other participants continue to fund the service where the city could enter into a fee for service contract as opposed to being a direct member to the service.”

Perehudoff says the RCMP Sergeant was consulted and he indicated the service is valuable.

He offered additional information for council to consider, such as the office is providing service to multiple clients and makes contact with approximately 70 new clients per month.

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