This week seeks to recognize those who have had their lives disrupted by criminal acts.
May 14 through to May 20 is being recognized as "Victims and Survivors of Crime Week" in Swift Current and was proclaimed as such at Swift Current city council.
Presenting the matter before city council was both Carrie Davis, program coordinator, and Brittni Ford, assistant coordinator, for Victim Services in Swift Current.
"With the theme being 'power of collaboration,' our program also includes an amid assistant, a board of directors and a wonderful team of volunteer support workers all over the southwest," shared Davis.
Victim and Survivors of Crime Week this year is seeking to not only highlight the folks who have had to deal with the effects of criminal acts but also to highlight the folks who help with the aftermath.
"We assist victims and witnesses by providing crisis intervention, information, support and referrals," said Davis. "Such as assisting with victim statements, restitution and compensation forms. Giving victims a voice when they feel theirs hasn't been heard and to give a better picture."
Over the last year, Victim Services was able to assist in 346 individual cases, with the age of those individuals ranging from children to adults.
They assist, mostly through RCMP referrals, in a variety of situations. They helped with many violent offences like assault, threats, and criminal harassment making up 161 of their cases. Less common is assisting with property-related crimes, like break-ins, theft and fraud, which only made up 14.
"In the last year, we made 331 outside referrals. A large part of the role is to provide court information," Davis said. "Which includes court orders, updates, a compliment to court and court orientation. This is a very overwhelming process to victims."
Victim Services only has two full-time staff members, with the rest of the work being done by 16 volunteers. Those volunteers can be found across the southwest, offering their services to those who need them most.
"It's clear that our program relies on volunteers," stated Davis. "If a coordinator receives a call from RCMP requesting Victim Services at an emergency, but they live an hour away, we would call a volunteer that lives closer if they can't wait for help, and they need help ASAP."
Volunteers need RCMP clearance. That requires a deep look into the past ten years of an individual and can take up to three months to complete.