Victims and Survivors of Crime Week began Sunday and runs until Nov. 20.
The aim of this annual national observance is to raise awareness about issues facing victims and survivors of crime and about the services, assistance and laws in place to help victims, survivors and their families.
The dedicated week is also an opportunity to acknowledge the important work of victim service providers and other criminal justice professionals who assist victims of crime each and every day of the year.
This year’s theme is “The Power of Collaboration.” This theme is especially meaningful locally as it is the nucleus of services provided to victims and survivors in the Trail area, explains the committee of Lower Columbia VAWIR (Violence Against Women in Relationships) and Trail FAIR (Family and Individual Resource Centre).
Locally, two key resources provide a long list of critical services.
The first is Trail and Greater District RCMP Victim Services, a regional resource, based in the Trail detachment.
This program provides services to all victims of crime and tragedy. Its purpose is to lessen the impact of crime and trauma on victims and families, to assist them in their recovery, to enhance victim safety, to help reduce the risk of further victimization and to increase victims’ level of participation in the criminal justice system. It’s available to provide immediate crisis support — 24 hours a day seven days a week — in situations of family violence. Victims are then referred to community-based services. Their number is 250.368.2184.
RCMP victim services include: crisis intervention and emotional support; assistance in completing crime victim assistance program applications and victim impact statements; court orientation and accompaniment; preparation of victims who are acting as witnesses for court proceedings; referrals to community resources; and support for victims of relationship abuse/assault, adult sexual assault, child sexual assault/abuse, adult survivors, criminal harassment and stalking. This program also provides community connections to the law clinic and legal aid.
A second key resource is community-based victim services through Trail FAIR.
This specialized program provides services such as safety planning and risk assessment, assistance finding a lawyer, applying for legal aid and accessing legal advice, referral to other programs and agencies for counselling or other needs, and education and public awareness on relationship violence.
This specialized program can be reached by calling Trail FAIR at 250.364.2326 ext. 227 or ext. 234.
Staff from the victim services program collaborates with others from FAIR to offer supports to women and their children who are victims and survivors of family violence.
These services include: WINS Transition House, a 30-day emergency shelter; second stage support, which is a 12 to 18 month support and housing program; several additional counselling programs and supports including Stopping the Violence counselling , the PEACE program for children who have witnessed abuse and the Sexual Abuse Intervention Program.
FAIR also collaborates with agencies in the Trail area and other communities to offer: the Trail area “Caring Communities” map of key community services; KB FETCH, a community services web-directory which allows “one-stop” access to up-to-date information about services and resources in the Kootenay Boundary; and the 24/7 Interior Crisis Line (1-888-353-3373), which provides trained staff and volunteers to listen, support and direct callers to needed resources and services.
Additional resources are available through the Greater Trail and District Inter-Agency Committees. This collaboration has led to the formation of working committees of staff from a wide range of local agencies which provide various services to victims and survivors of crime.
These committees include: Lower Columbia VAWIR, offering the wider community information and opportunities for reflection and action to end violence; the Inter-Agency Case Assessment Team (ICAT) Committee provides immediate coordinated intervention and support in intimate partner violence cases when there is a concern for serious bodily harm or death; Safe Kids and Youth (SKY) enables systems to work together to support a child or youth (up to age 19) who has experienced abuse or violence. The goal is a more seamless response to child/youth abuse that reduces the potential for re-traumatization.
Resources at the provincial level include: VictimLinkBC, a 24/7 toll-free, confidential, multilingual service available across B.C. and the Yukon. Call or text 1-800-563-0808 or email: VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca. It provides information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including victims of human trafficking exploited for labour or sexual services.