THUNDER BAY – News – Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services is coming together with victim support agencies in Thunder Bay to walk for action. A Crime Awareness Walk for Victims is being held in the community in support of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, taking place across Canada from April 6-12, 2014. With a theme of “Taking Action”, Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services has a goal to raise awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs, and laws in place to help victims and their families.
“Being a victim of a crime can be a very difficult and stressful experience. While most people feel that they are resilient and find ways to cope and adjust on there own, there can be a wide range of effects to a trauma;” says Miranda Thibeault, Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services Board President Elect. “We want to let victims know they are not alone and have support and people in the community they can turn to.”
Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services is a community-focused and volunteer-driven organization that provides confidential community support services to victims of crime and tragedy to help lessen the trauma and its impacts. Over the last year, volunteers have provided services to more than 400 victims in Thunder Bay and District. “The number of people that Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services assists continues to rise every year, however the statistics of those seeking support are still incredibly low for those that we know are experiencing tragedy and are victims” said Annette Hodgson, Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services Executive Director.
“Unfortunately, in certain situations victims are feeling as though it is impossible to seek help as they feel they are at fault for violence perpetrated against them. We live in a society that often blames the victim for what happened and as a community we need to work on getting away from that stigma.”
Victims served by Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services include those impacted by car accidents, spousal violence, elder abuse, robberies, theft and sexual assault. Thibeault added “Victims of Crime Awareness Week is also about encouraging people to recognize and understand what is happening in the community around you. The fact is anyone can become a victim of a crime. It can happen to you or someone you love.”
The community of Thunder Bay is invited to walk with Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services’ volunteers and other agency representatives in the Crime Awareness Walk happening on Thursday April 10th, 2014. The walk will begin at 6:00 pm at City Hall and will be followed by an Empowerment Workshop and refreshments at Evergreen a United Neighbourhood building, located at 139 Heron Street. The workshop will be led by the Community Arts and Heritage Project and will include an inspirational t-shirt making session.
The Hate Crime Awareness Committee has partnered with Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services to help plan this event for National Victims of Crime Awareness week. This initiative will help the Hate Crime Awareness Committee to encourage reporting of hate- or bias-motivated incidents and help support victims of these types of crimes.
“As a community, we must show that hate- and bias-motivated crimes have no place in our city. We encourage citizens to come together to show victims of all crimes that they will be supported not only by law enforcement and support services, but also by the citizens of Thunder Bay.” stated Lee-Ann Chevrette, the Acting Coordinator of the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council.
“Together we can empower victims to stand up for their right to live in safety, to access the appropriate support services, and to seek justice in the justice system should they decide to go this route”.
The Hate Crime Awareness Committee is comprised of representatives from the Thunder Bay Police Service, Thunder Bay District Crime Stoppers, The Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council, Evergreen a United Neighbourhood and interested citizens in Thunder Bay.