The Vulcan Regional Victim Services Society began operations in September 2001. The society is a not-for-profit, volunteer based, registered society, working directly from the Vulcan RCMP detachment.
Vulcan County is located 1 hour south east of Calgary, Alberta and 1 hour north of Lethbridge, Alberta
Our program provides assistance to the area serviced by Vulcan RCMP Detachment.
The population served includes approximately 7000 permanent residents, seasonal employees, weekend residents and thousands of annual visitors.
The aims of VRVSS is to limit the impact of crime or tragedy on victimized persons by providing assistance, support, information and referral to individuals living in and visiting Vulcan County.
VRVSS provides assistance to both primary victims (persons who have experienced direct injury, loss or trauma) and secondary victims (persons beyond the immediate victim to whom the repercussion of a crime/trauma may spread including friends, family and co-workers).
The VRVSS consists of a board of directors, a part-time program coordinator, and a team of dedicated volunteer advocates. Advocates are volunteers who have completed an extensive training program, have obtained a security clearance from the RCMP, have successfully completed interviews with the program coordinator and the RCMP, and have signed a one year contract with the program. These advocates provide direct services to victims of crime and trauma.
From Sept. 2001 to Sept. 2010, the VRVSS assisted 674 individuals victimized by crime and trauma, and assisted with 312 RCMP files. The types of occurrences where victims have been assisted includes sudden death, suicide, attempted suicide, fatal motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), injury MVAs, serious accidents, sexual assaults, assaults, domestic assaults, residential and commercial break and enters, robbery, thefts, forgeries, property damage, trespassing, harassment, threats, kidnapping, missing persons, child abuse and indecent acts.
Over one million people are victimized by crime in Canada every year. These individuals are left to deal with a wide range of reactions. Emotions such as fear, anger, sadness and guilt, seriously diminish their quality of life.
After a crime or trauma has occurred the police often become involved. Individuals affected by these traumatic events are generally happy with police intervention, but many still wish they had someone to talk to for support and information. The presence of another can greatly increase feelings of security after a traumatic incident. Studies also show that through early intervention, long term problems associated with tragedy can be greatly reduced. Victims have indicated that in crisis situations, after the police leave:
47% − would like someone to talk to.
33% − would like someone to stay with them so they feel more protected.
18% − would like advice on getting help.
16% − have concerns regarding their children.
13% − would like emergency transportation.
11% − would like assistance in clearing up the scene.
9% − would like emergency financial assistance.
Individuals often turn to family or friends for help, but this is not always the case. In Vulcan County for example, many visitors, seasonal workers and long term residents cannot readily access these traditional forms of support. This results in many victims being left to deal with their situation alone.
Over the years, little support and information has been available to assist victims of crime and trauma. Significant time and energy is devoted to dealing with offenders, creating an imbalance in the criminal justice system. Through the provision of support, information and assistance, victim service programs help address this imbalance.
In May 1988, the House of Commons passed Bill C-89, sanctioning victim’s rights and entitlements, compelling police organizations to be more responsive to victims. This Bill also laid the ground work for the introduction of Victim Impact Statements, designed to allow victims greater input into the sentencing of offenders.
Alberta responded to this Bill in June 1990, by the introduction of the Victim’s Program Assistance Act. This Act was replaced in 1996 by the Victims of Crime Act, further strengthening the rights and entitlements of victims in this province. This Act documents a standard treatment for victims, establishes a fund to assist victim service programs, and allows for the collection of provincial surcharges to financially assist victims of violent crimes. Since the introduction of these Acts, there has been a steady increase in the number of victim service units throughout the province. Presently there are 120 such police based units in Alberta. Many other similar programs also exist throughout Canada.
This is the front line role of the VRVSS. You work directly with victims, police and the program director. An excellent training program provides you with skills necessary to complete this satisfying role.
Victim advocates provide assistance, support, information and referral to victims of crime or tragedy in Vulcan County through crisis intervention and timely follow up.
To provide practical assistance and non-judgmental emotional support to victims of crime or tragedy. This service can be provided through follow up or immediate crisis intervention at the request of the RCMP, emergency personnel, other community agencies or through self referral by community members.
To assist in the delivery, explanation and follow-up of victim impact statements, applications for financial benefits and claims for restitution.
To keep victims informed of proceedings with the criminal justice system.
Maintenance of confidentiality at all times.
To provide victim/witnesses with formalized court preparation sessions and accompaniment to court as required.
To provide information on and referrals to other community agencies which may act as useful resources for the victim.
To accurately complete the records as required, including updating the investigating member of any additional information received while interacting with a victim.
To provide victims with appropriate educational and preventive information.
To arrange emergency transportation to victims when necessary.
Familiarization with the victim advocate manual and the Policy and Procedure Handbook.
To assist the investigating officer with the return of exhibits in certain instances.
To maintain the detailed records of volunteer hours.
To us the discretion and common sense to determine what immediate assistance might be useful to the victim.
To provide “face to face” contact with the victim wherever possible.
To collect and return the crisis phone used while on-call.
To assist with fundraising, presentations and special events if available.
Must be 18 years of age.
Coverage of on-call crisis intervention shifts, and self scheduled follow-up with victims as required.
The signing of a one year contract with the program.
The signing of an oath of confidentiality.
The accurate completion of all security clearance forms for the RCMP.
Participation and attendance in the victim services training program and other in-service sessions and monthly unit meetings.
Strong communication skills and the ability to provide non-judgmental support.
The ability to work in stressful situations.
The maintenance of a high degree of professionalism, including dressing in a business-like fashion, punctuality and the positive promotion of the victim services.
A valid drivers license and access to a vehicle is also an asset.
The advocate may be requested to ride-along with an RCMP member will also be included as part of an advocate’s training and will be scheduled through the program director at a time suitable to the RCMP and the advocate
Board of Directors
A position on the board is a very interesting and dynamic way to be involved with VRVSS. The board meets regularly, are responsible for the control and management of the Society and are elected for one or two year terms.
The Vulcan Regional Victim Services Society is a legal entity existing through incorporation and operates under the direction of a Board of Directors. Their role is to govern the operations of Vulcan Regional Victim Services through the formal establishment of policies. They meet bi-monthly to monitor the control and management of the affairs of the Society. The Board consists of six to ten members.