The Vulcan Regional Victim Services Society promotes and advocates the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and trauma through information, referral, support, assistance, community liaison, and education.

Serving the needs of victims of crime and trauma in Vulcan County, Alberta.

Program Background

Background of Victims Services

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.