Navigating personal life and the justice system after experiencing or witnessing crime or tragedy can be incredibly challenging. With that in mind, last year the Lethbridge Police Victim/Witness Services Unit volunteered 23,214 hours providing emotional and practical support to fellow community members who needed assistance through their difficult experiences. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Crisis Support Worker, VSU is recruiting new volunteers and will be hosting an information session.
The information session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. at the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization, 5 Avenue and 11 Street South.
The Lethbridge Police Victim/Witness Services Unit is a 24/7 police-based, client-centered and trauma-informed victim assistance program that was developed and launched in 1991 to empower victims by providing information, support and referrals to victims and witnesses of crime or tragedy in the City of Lethbridge.
Volunteer Crisis Support Workers are “first responders” who provide support during the first few critical hours after a crime or tragedy. VSU serves as a central information point for those who have been victimized, providing updates on the status of an investigation or court case as well as information about victim impact statements, requests for restitution, provincial financial benefits and referrals to counseling services, shelters, child protection and crisis lines. In addition to immediate crisis support, VSU offers court preparation, court orientation and, when required, court accompaniment for victims, families and witnesses during preliminary hearings and trial.
Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years of age, complete an application form, undergo a criminal record check and reference checks, hold a valid driver’s license, be willing to commit to the program uninterrupted for two years and participate in job shadowing. Applicants will then undergo an interview before being accepted in the training program.
Successful candidates are provided with more than 100 hours of comprehensive training covering a variety of areas including general police procedures, suicide awareness, domestic violence, sexual assault, bereavement, organized crime and the criminal justice system. We strive to assist with evidence-based learning to reduce future victimization and apply client-lead support that encourages establishing harm-reducing strategies and problem-solving.
For more information about VSU or becoming a volunteer contact VSU Manager Darcie James at 403-330-5023.