Whether it’s a motor vehicle accident or a domestic violence situation, the physical and emotional impact of crime can be devastating, but there is help. Gateway Regional Victim Services (GRVS) is working to lessen the impact of crime in our communities.
The non-profit organization, located in the Prince Albert RCMP detachment north of the Diefenbaker bridge, is funded by the Ministry of Justice and operates under a board of directors. There are five full-time staff who, with the help of volunteers, assist victims of crime or tragic circumstances referred to them by RCMP from 11 different detachments between Prince Albert and Meadow Lake.
“Between March and October of 2017, we had 650 referrals from police,” said GRVS coordinator Laegan Meyers.
The caseload is too big for the approximately 15 volunteers GRVS currently has. Meyers said the organization is looking to recruit compassionate and mature people to provide community based support to all individuals in a courteous and compassionate manner that respects dignity and privacy while promoting personal well-being.
“Generally, we connect people with counselling services or guide them through the Victim’s Compensation Program,” Meyers said. “We provide them with basic needs if they are fleeing a residence and don’t have anything with them.”
Their work also includes preparing victims for the court process and providing updates to the clients throughout court proceedings. Meyers said volunteers don’t need previous experience thanks to a 40-hour training program and an 8-hour job shadow.
“We put volunteers through a serious application process because they do the same work we do. There is a small interview and then they [volunteers] go through the RCMP Enhanced Reliability Security Clearance which can take anywhere from six weeks to four months… so we can make sure the information our volunteers receive is in trusted hands,” she explained.
The commitment as a volunteer is just four to eight hours per month but Meyers said the benefits of the job have a lasting effect on the volunteers and on the community.
“You’re helping people in your community go through something really hard and you get to be the rock for that person and it’s a great feeling you get when you help people right away.”
Meyers said she’s been particularly inspired recently by victims of domestic violence. She explained more women have become empowered to come forward thanks to the ‘#MeToo’ movement aimed to support survivors of sexual violence.
Volunteers for Gateway Regional Victim Services are especially needed in the Prince Albert area. Interested applicants who want to help the community heal from the effects of crime or tragedy can start the process by filling out online forms on the GRVS website.
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