Rickford Announces Support for VCARS

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KENORA – Greg Rickford, MP for Kenora, has announced $15,000 in funding for local events coinciding with the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. Sunset Area Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (VCARS) are hosting two local “Every Victim Matters” Awareness Symposiums in the Kenora region.

“These events are important because many people are not aware of services that are available locally,” shared Rickford. “There are programs to help victims of crime rebuild their lives and have their voices heard at every stage in the criminal justice process. These are important steps in building healthy communities.”

Every Victim Matters” is the theme of this year’s National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, taking place across Canada from April 18 to 24, 2010. Activities across the country are raising awareness of services available to victims of crime in Canada, as well as exploring new ways to reach out to victims of crime to let them know their experience matters.

“Services for victims of crime are available here in the community,” states Rickford.

Sunset Area VCARS is a Kenora and Dryden based community response program providing immediate on-site service to victims of crime or disaster – 24 hours, seven days a week. Day to day operations of  Sunset Area VCARS are funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. With the consent of the victim, police officers and other Emergency services can call on Sunset Area VCARS to send a team of trained volunteers to provide on-site, short-term assistance to victims and provide victims with referral information to community agencies for long-term assistance.

Sunset Area VCARS’s mandate is to provide immediate short-term emotional and practical support and referral services to victims of crime and tragic circumstances, including follow-up calls within 48 hours, as approved by the victim(s). These services are provided by trained volunteers, and at the request of an officer and/or other first. All services are offered with consent from the victim(s).

“We would like to thank the Department of Justice and Service Partners in and around Kenora and Dryden for their support,” said Monika Huminuk, Executive Director Sunset Area VCARS. “Through the symposiums we are able to increase awareness of the challenges victims in our communities may face and how we, as a community, can make a difference.”

National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (NVCAW) continues to affirm the Government of Canada’s support for victims and provides an opportunity to celebrate the ongoing progress on victim issues and acknowledge the work of professional and volunteer victim-service providers.

This year’s theme “Every Victim Matters” recognizes:

  • That every victim of crime – no matter who they are, where they live or the way in which they were victimized, should be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity.
  • That victims of crime have a role in Canada’s justice system and there are laws, policies and programs which give them an opportunity to participate and have their voices heard at different stages in the criminal justice process.
  • The dedication of professionals and volunteers alike who work tirelessly and selflessly with victims of crime and their families and who show, in their daily actions, that every victim truly does matter.

Sunset Area VCARS will commemorate the Week with two “Every Victim Matters” Awareness Symposiums: Kenora, April 20th at the Best Western Lakeside Inn and Dryden, April 21st at the Best Western Motor Inn (both run from 9 am to 4 pm).

The annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week provides an opportunity to raise awareness about victim issues, programs, services and laws that can assist victims of crime and their families.  For the 2010 campaign, 93 events in 13 provinces and territories received a total of $718, 597 in funding from the federal government.

In 2007, the Government of Canada created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman of Victims of Crime to serve as an independent resource for victims in Canada.  It also committed $52 million to further assist federal, provincial and territorial governments respond more effectively to the needs of victims of crime. Budget 2010 provided additional funding of $6.6 million over the next two years.

For more information on National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, visit: www.victimsweek.gc.ca.

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