Questions and answers.
How Can I Help?
By becoming a volunteer…Caring Volunteers are always welcome.


How do I become a volunteer?
Our screening process involves an application, a personal interview, police/background check, and personal reference check, to be accepted into the training portion of the program. After the 40 hour training is complete applicants will be selected to become a Crisis Responder.


Who is a Victim?
A victim is any person whose life has been affected by a crime or a tragedy/disaster. These include the primary victim, the victim’s family and children, partner, grandparents, friends, co-workers, other significant persons to the victim, witnesses, bystanders, and many, many more.
 
Victimizing events tend to be of high intensity and short duration. Reactions to a crisis can vary from person to person. Generally, intense feelings of fear, helplessness, hopelessness, vulnerability and others can lead to frustration as victims struggle to cope with countless changes brought about be sudden losses and sadness.
 
It is normal to have a response or feelings in the aftermath of the event. Having an opportunity to talk about these feelings and reactions in an atmosphere of support may be the first step toward recovery and becoming mobilized. Talking can offer an opportunity to begin to accept the reality of the tragedy.


What can victims expect?
  • 7 days a week 24-hours a day access to police-referred victim assistance
  • Complete confidentiality
  • Non-judgmental support
  • Well-trained, professional help
  • Immediate support available at their home, hospital, police or other safe location
  • Up-to-date information about services


What sort of things can the volunteers do?
They are there to provide immediate emotional and practical support.  They carry a referral manual with all sorts of supports listed in it.  If necessary, they can help you access family to be with you, and help you sort out what to do next.  The volunteers often take family members to the hospital after an accident, take women to the available shelter, or stay with families at the hospital while medical staff look after injured family members. practical help in managing the crisis.


What about confidentiality?
All volunteers are required to take an Oath of Confidentiality.  Violations of this oath will not be tolerated.


If I am a victim, how do I access the service?
Individuals may call our office directly for support and information during regular office hours. Crisis teams must be activated by police and emergency services, 24/7.


What sort of commitment do you expect from a volunteer?
At the end of the training we ask volunteers to commit to serving for a full year.  We ask that volunteers be “on call” for a minimum of two-three 12 hour shifts per month.  This means that volunteers pick up a kit from the office which contains a pager, cell phone, referral manual and flashlight.  While on call, volunteers wear the pager and are free to carry on with their regular life.  If the pager goes off, we expect the volunteer to respond immediately as we try to have a half-hour response time.


It sounds like it could be dangerous, is it?
We work very closely with the police to make sure you are safe.  If volunteers are responding to a domestic, we ensure that the police to have the offender removed and housed in the cells.  If the police feel that it is an unsafe situation, or the assailant is still at large volunteers will not be sent out or will meet the victim in a safe location such as the police station or hospital.


How do the shifts work?
The shifts are 12 hours long (7:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.)  These match the shift times of police officers.  There is a team leader and two volunteers on each shift.  The police or other emergency services access the team leader who calls out the volunteers.  The team leader keeps track of where the volunteers are at all times.  If the volunteers need answers to questions, they can also call back their team leader for support and information.


What if more people are needed or if I get sick and canít go on a shift?
We keep a list of people we can call on very short notice.  We realize that “life happens” and there may be times when you cannot fulfill your commitment.


What happens if a call comes in for a good friend of mine?
We suggest that you notify your team leader and asked to be replaced, as it could change the relationship you have with your friend.


Is it possible to speak to someone from Victim Services even if I have not had contact with the police?
Absolutely. Not every event requires police attendance. Sometimes individuals and groups are looking for information and support and heard about Victim Services through a friend or colleague. If we cannot provide the information you need, we will direct you to the best possible source of help.


Can Victim Services help me prepare a Victim Impact Statement?
In our area, assistance with Victim Impact Statements is usually provided by the Victim Witness/Assistance program at the local court office.


How often do you do training and how do I apply?
Training usually happens twice yearly in one or more of our service areas. To find out about an upcoming training session, please contact us at 705-472-2649


How do I know if I would be a good volunteer for your program?
It is important that every volunteer be able to listen fully to the victim. As such, it is necessary to be at a point in one's life where things are stable and going well . That will help you to be a non-judgmental and caring helper, able to work in partnership with another volunteer to commit yourself to the program and victims. You will never go on a call by yourself and two partners work together to help the victim identify priorities and choices.


Do I need First Aid or CPR training?
No. This training is not required because volunteers do not administer first aid on a VCARS call. If a victim needs medical support, volunteers are obligated to seek emergency help by calling 911.


Do you offer counselling or therapy? I felt really attached to the volunteers who assisted me and I would like to be able to speak with them on an ongoing basis.
Volunteers with our program are trained to utilize some of the helping steps of the crisis intervention model. This a short term helping approach that requires referral to other services for counselling and longer term help, but we are glad that you felt comfortable with the volunteers.



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