CPS Celebrates 35 Years of Victim Services during National Victims of Crime Awareness Week
It’s been nearly 10 years since Karen Venables’ son, Devin, died after he was punched during an altercation he tried to walk away from.
She still remembers the night police came to tell her the news, and the kind-hearted volunteers from the Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Support Team (VAST) who were there with a shoulder to cry on, and as a pillar of strength through the court process.
She is just one of the 18,000 victims each year who are supported by VAST.
In recognition of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 22 to 28, 2012, the Alberta Provincial Victim Services Conference will be held in Banff from April 27 to 29, 2012.
The conference brings together victim services from across Canada to celebrate 35 years of victim services in Canada - an initiative that began in Calgary.
The CPS VAST team is composed of 98 volunteers who provide information, support and referrals to victims of crime and tragedy.
One of those volunteers is Mary Anne. In 1998, her nine-year-old daughter disclosed her story of sexual abuse by a family member in a school journal. CPS VAST was there to support Mary Anne when family dynamics became extremely difficult and she had no one to turn to for help.
Mary Anne decided to give back by joining VAST as a volunteer in 2001, and was hired in 2002 as the Court Support Co-ordinator. She speaks to every CPS recruit class and at national and international victim services conferences to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and to provide frontline workers with insight into the impact their work has on a victim and their family.
The CPS VAST team is looking for more volunteers to help fulfill the daily demand for services.
For more information on how to volunteer, or to seek assistance if you are a victim, call 403-428-8398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson and Respect Group Inc.’s Sheldon Kennedy, will be speaking at the conference. Prior to that, they, along with Karen Venables and Mary Anne, will be available to speak to the media about the importance of victim services on Monday, April 23, 2012, at 10 a.m.
Details of the location will follow in a media advisory.
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