Victim Services are here to help

Posted on: October 26, 2016

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts
heddy@pdgmedia.ca

They are probably one of the county’s best kept secrets, but they are definitely there when they’re needed. Victim Services Lanark County provides immediate, on scene, short-term support; crisis intervention, and follow-up and referrals; receive calls for information and assistance from social service agencies, other victim services and emergency service providers. The agency is frequently called by police, firefighters or paramedics to the scene of a sudden death, homicide, suicide, assault, personal crisis or other such disaster.“There is the

“There is the on scene support and the follow up component,” said Sonya Jodoin, executive director, Victim Services Lanark County.The on-scene support is focused on getting the victim through the first 24 hours following a crisis. Once that has been taken care of, the organization is equipped to follow up with the victims and determine their service needs. In general, Victim Services works with other organizations and helps victims connect with the social services best suited to their needs and available in their area.

The on-scene support is focused on getting the victim through the first 24 hours following a crisis. Once that has been taken care of, the organization is equipped to follow up with the victims and determine their service needs. In general, Victim Services works with other organizations and helps victims connect with the social services best suited to their needs and available in their area.“Sometimes we will just give a person the information for them to follow up on their own, but often we will make the calls for them or share their information and needs with the appropriate service, with their permission and consent of course,” said Jodoin.

“Sometimes we will just give a person the information for them to follow up on their own, but often we will make the calls for them or share their information and needs with the appropriate service, with their permission and consent of course,” said Jodoin.The relationships that Victim Services develop with their clients can be very short, just on

The relationships that Victim Services develop with their clients can be very short, just on scene, or they may last a week, two weeks or months depending on the circumstances and the individual needs.While the organization is run by paid staff, its services are largely delivered by a combination of volunteers and staff.

While the organization is run by paid staff, its services are largely delivered by a combination of volunteers and staff.“We’re in desperate need of volunteers, mainly people who can attend on

“We’re in desperate need of volunteers, mainly people who can attend on scene at the request of police,” said Jodoin.Extensive training is provided to volunteers before they can take up any duties, and even then one or two staff members always accompany volunteers or function as the team leader through telephone contact.

Extensive training is provided to volunteers before they can take up any duties, and even then one or two staff members always accompany volunteers or function as the team leader through telephone contact.“Nobody goes anywhere without 40 hours of training in addition to the two provincially mandated training sessions every year,” said Jodoin.

“Nobody goes anywhere without 40 hours of training in addition to the two provincially mandated training sessions every year,” said Jodoin.While usually Victim Services are called by first responders to attend a scene, individuals in crisis can also call victim services for help.

While usually Victim Services are called by first responders to attend a scene, individuals in crisis can also call victim services for help.“If a person is concerned about another family member, they can call us and we’ll refer them to the appropriate agency, we’ll advise them or provide resources, and if they need help connecting with a more appropriate service we’ll assist,” said Jodoin.

“If a person is concerned about another family member, they can call us and we’ll refer them to the appropriate agency, we’ll advise them or provide resources, and if they need help connecting with a more appropriate service we’ll assist,” said Jodoin.The organization has a very broad

The organization has a very broad mandate, and is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General.“So we have a set of standards given to us by the ministry, which amount to a contract that we agree to provide these services,” said Jodoin.

“So we have a set of standards given to us by the ministry, which amount to a contract that we agree to provide these services,” said Jodoin.According to

According to Jodion, the funding for the program is among the lowest for ministry programs. In rural areas, where the populations are low but the distances are huge, the organization has to fundraise to make ends meet.“Our fundraising can pay for things as basic as mileage for our staff and volunteers, or resource kits or may even help pay for food or shelter for a victim when local shelters are full or inappropriate to the victim’s circumstances,” explained Jodoin.

“Our fundraising can pay for things as basic as mileage for our staff and volunteers, or resource kits or may even help pay for food or shelter for a victim when local shelters are full or inappropriate to the victim’s circumstances,” explained Jodoin.The agency can be reached

The agency can be reached at: 613-284-8380, toll-free at 1-866-575-0067. For more information, visit the website at www.victimserviceslanark.ca