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February 12th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 6
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Victim Services still active in Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
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EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Despite administrative changes the Crowsnest Pass still has an active Victim Services Unit and is looking for volunteers.

“There’s some questions in the community, do [we] still have a unit or not? Because of the changes that have happened,” says Christine Wagemaar-Van Huffel, Executive Director of Ranchlands Victim Services Society.

“Yes, we’re here, we’re active, we’re solid,” she says.

Since 2006, the Municipal District of Ranchland had been providing governance to the Crowsnest Pass Victims Services Unit. At the end of 2013, the agreement expired and the district council did not renew it.

Since then, the Crowsnest Pass Victim Services Unit has come under the governance of a board of directors who have been administering the victim service units of Claresholm, Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek and the Piikani Nation for many years. Two Crowsnest Pass residents have joined the board.

Victims Services offers support, information and referrals to victims of crime and tragedy. It is a 24-hour service.

“While most of our referrals come from the RCMP or the Crown Prosecutor, clients can contact us on their own,” says Wagemaar-Van Huffel.

The board is securing funding for the Crowsnest Unit from the Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security. The Unit will soon be recruiting a part-time unit coordinator who will be responsible for day-to-day operations, including serving victims of crime or tragedy.

The Crowsnest Unit is also looking for volunteer advocates interested in helping people in times of crisis. Advocates provide support, information and referrals to victims of crimes and tragedies. The training course can be completed online on the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website.

“We want people that are compassionate and are generally interested in helping other people,” says Wagemaar-Van Huffel.

Victims Services has two volunteers living in the Pass. Wagemaar-Van Huffel says volunteers from Pincher Creek do respond but she says if the roads are bad it can take them up to an hour to respond. She says she’s looking to recruit a team of 6 to 8 volunteers.

To ensure volunteers possess the necessary skills to serve victims, ongoing training is available through workshops and conferences. Crowsnest Pass Family and Community Support Services is providing funding for volunteers to attend the Victim Services Conference in Banff in Oct. 2014.

If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please call (403) 562-7098.
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February 12th ~ Vol. 84 No. 6
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