Those who have been victimized by crime are probably aware of the Battleford's Victim Services, but the organization offers help and support to just about anyone who needs it.
The service has been around for over a decade and works closely with RCMP to assist victims of crime in the Battlefords community. Program Coordinator, Jenna Holt, said the organization also works with those who have been through any traumatic event.
“It doesn’t always have to be a victim of crime,” Holt said. “It could be a witness to a crime, so if they’ve witnessed something and feel victimized they can come to us. It could also be a traumatic event like if someone they know has committed suicide. We also attend house fires and make sure the family has a place to stay.”
After the recent RCMP shooting in North Battleford last weekend, which left one man dead, Holt wanted the community and anyone who witnessed or was affected by it to know the program welcomes them with open arms.
“They can make an appointment or just talk over the phone. We will facilitate anything or anyone who feels victimized by what happened. I won’t say anything else about this weekend but I know anyone who has witnessed a crime would feel traumatized and it is nice to know there is a service for them, too.”
The organization offers four core services. Holt said the first is acting as a liaison for the victim so the police can concentrate on the case. The organization keeps the victim up to date on everything happening and helps prepare them for court if they are called to appear. The coordinator added she will inform the victim of any restitution or compensation they can access to help their situation.
The second core service is referrals.
“We aren’t counsellors here but we can definitely refer them on to counselling. Those would include mental health, addictions, grief, financial and a lot more. We try to get as many referrals for the person as possible so they feel comfortable and get the support they need.”
The third service is support and Holt said it is directly related to the referral service. The coordinator said Victim Services sticks around throughout the entire counselling process and won’t just pass them off to counsellors and forget about them.
The last service offered is assisting the victim and making sure they have a voice when they don’t feel they’re being heard.
Holt believes the organization is known in the area but is always looking to raise awareness.
“We recently did a suicide awareness walk in Cut Knife where we had presentations in the school and the walk in their community. That was a great way to promote our services. We also have a Facebook page and a website people can check out. In the future we definitely have more community events planned.”
The service is a volunteer based organization and Hold said anyone looking to help out is more than welcome to visit their website or give them a call.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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