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Victim services

Central Okanagan Victim Services will host a series of workshops next week to raise awareness of topics not normally discussed in open forums.

The workshops, in conjunction with Victims of Crime Awareness Week, will take place April 9 and 10.

They were made possible through a $7,200 grant from the Department of Justice Canada.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Male victims of family violence
  • Male survivors of sexual abuse in churches, sports fields and their home
  • Worker care: Vicarious trauma
  • Unresolved trauma and grief

The awareness sessions will be attended by workers in the victim services field, community support workers, RCMP members and members of the public.

Cary Berger, RDCO Police Services Manager, says up to 136 people will be attending the seminars from Kamloops to the South Okanagan and Merritt.

"We want to create awareness in the community that victims of crime should be recognized and should be able to receive appropriate services," says Berger.

"Through our police based program we do see male victims of violence, whether it's sexual assault or domestic abuse. For service providers we want them to be better equipped."

Berger says not all people come to victim services through the criminal justice system

She says workshops like this give other service providers appropriate tools when they see those particular clients.

"Whether it's a sudden death, attempted suicide, suicide or other situations that don't fall within the code. None-the-less these people are still victims of a situation that may need extra support or a referral," says Berger.

The topics themselves, says Berger, have attracted a lot of interest.

"We have recognized, as service providers, that the training opportunities just aren't there as they have been in years past, whether it's cutbacks from agencies or government.

With these types of topics that aren't normally discussed that readily, or out in the open, we had so many people wanting to attend."

Victim Services is a program run within the Kelowna RCMP Detachment.

Assistant coordinator, Carolyn Farago says they are available 24-7 to respond to instances of all types of crime and trauma.

"We can provide on-scene support as well as follow up through the criminal justice system," says Farago.

"We offer court support and court orientation as well as referrals to other community agencies. That's where an opportunity like this to gather some of our community partners together and have that exchange of information is important."

For more information on Victim Services click here.


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