CALGARY -- The provincial government announced on Friday (Oct 19) that it is adding another $4.5 million to its Victims of Crime Fund.
Victim service units work across Alberta supporting victims of crime during police investigations and throughout the criminal justice process.
The additional money will improve the quality of victim programs in five areas:
Funding boost for police-based victim services units
Additional money will ensure high demand programs in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo can continue helping Albertans, and enable these assistance teams to provide support to surrounding areas.
Support for survivors of domestic violence
Preventing and addressing family violence is a high priority, and additional funds will be used to enhance province-wide services that address the complex needs of survivors of domestic violence. More information about these initiatives will be available in the coming months.
Aiding victims in court
Dedicated staff and the purchase and upgrade of testimonial aids, such as screens and closed-circuit television upgrades, in courtrooms across the province will help ensure vulnerable victims and witnesses are able to participate in court processes, provide testimony and navigate the justice system with more confidence.
Helping Indigenous communities
Expanding the existing Indigenous Victims Outreach Services program into more communities will increase access to support for Indigenous victims of crime in both urban and rural settings.
Creating opportunities for restorative justice
An increase in grant funding available will help support restorative justice initiatives in communities across the provinceAs
As for how the money will be allocated:
-- units in Edmonton and Calgary will see an increase from $300,000 to $500,000 each in 2018-19 and to $600,000 for the next three fiscal years.
-- units in Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat will double from $150,000 to $300,000 each in 2018-19 and the next three fiscal years.
-- the unit in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo was increased to help victims after the Wood Buffalo Region wildfire in 2016. Available funding for the area will increase from $265,000 to $300,000 in 2018-19 and the next three fiscal years.
Brian Turpin, past president, Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association, says People often have no idea where to go for support or what rights they have when they become victims of crime or tragedy.
"Victim assistance teams are a vital link that helps people navigate the criminal justice process and connect with the supports they need while they deal with very complex and emotional situations. The funding announced today will help ensure that police agencies across the province can offer this critical service to Albertans when they need it.”
There was also a voice that spoke about the impact of a crime and how victims services aided her. Cindy English, is the wife of George Steve English, who was murdered in the Crowsnest Pas in 2009.
"After his death, volunteers were there for me. They listened to me through my grief, they picked up their phones day and night to answer my questions about court processes, and they sat beside me during the trial. I don’t know where I would be today, if it wasn’t for their help and guidance.”
More information can be found at Help for Victims of Crime.
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