Written by Ryan Charles Parker
Perhaps you arrive at home in the evening and notice that the window on your front door is broken. Upon entering the house, you notice that some of your electronics have been stolen. You immediately notify the police as to what has happened to you and they arrive at your home.
The police provide some reassurance to you, but you are still understandably shaken by what has happened. You need some extra help to get through this terrible ordeal.
This is where the Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support steps in.
They are a branch of a Canada-wide mandated service that deals with the rural area around Red Deer to provide help and support to victims of crime and other tragedies. Working alongside the RCMP, they offer a wide array of strategies to help victims cope with, and hopefully transcend, the injustices they have suffered.
When they are needed, the RCMP notifies the organization as to where and what has happened and Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support send in their trained advocates to help with the situation.
The advocates are volunteers that are highly-trained in helping people cope after being victimized. They provide services such as letting the victims know what has happened, what to expect following the events, providing resources to get further information and support, and even staying with the victim if need be.
As the President of the Central Alberta branch, Cynthia Edwards explained, “we are the first contact that a victim of crime will have, either alongside or right after the RCMP become involved.”
It should be stressed that these advocates are volunteers that have to be ready to respond at any time on any day of the week. The work they do willingly, for no money, is inspiring even given the fact that they work in very difficult, unfortunate and often traumatic situations.
As Cynthia puts it, “what we like to do is minimize confusion and lack of information that can go along with something like this.”
These advocates are central to the operation of the program. They selflessly do their jobs for more than 3,000 hours combined each year.
Admitting that they often deal with the worst of situations, they remain a great inspiration.
The Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support is a non-profit organization. They rely on government grants, donations, corporate partnerships, donations, and fundraising events for financial support that keeps them in operation.
Let’s be honest, it would be great if tragedies could be eliminated from the world. But that’s just not the home we were given. And because of that unfortunate fact, we are all at risk of victimhood. Thankfully, we have organizations like Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support to turn to when the unthinkable happens and we are at our most vulnerable.
How grateful and lucky we are.
To support the Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support Society, please visit their website: www.victimsupport.ca