Above: Sturgeon Victim Services Executive Director Donna McPherson looks at her notes during the organization’s recent AGM. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
A decrease in the region’s crime rate accounted for a general decrease in the number of files handled by Sturgeon Victim Services (SVS) in 2014. This according to a report filed by the association’s executive director at their Annual General Meeting Mar. 19.
Executive Director Donna McPherson said the association handled 433 files in 2014, a drop of 33 files from 2013. Although files were down across most file types, assaults, sexual assaults, threat and harassment files were up over 2013 numbers.
Of the 433 files handled by the victim advocacy organization, the majority (159) were Morinville files. Another 90 were Sturgeon County files. The Morinville numbers are a slight increase over 2013; the County files were a slight decrease.
SVS is a volunteer organization that works in partnership with RCMP, providing victims of crime and tragedy with the support they need, support that includes information and referrals to other agencies.
Morinville RCMP Constable Dalton Rouse, who was on hand to deliver a report at the AGM, said the relationship between SVS and RCMP members is a good one. “I feel the SVS unit as a whole takes a lot of the work off my plate,” he said, adding SVS has always been able to jump in and help him. “It is very nice to know the victim is in good hands and being taken good care of. I can’t sing their praises enough.”
Though the work the association does is well known to police, it is not as well known to the public. SVS continues to raise its profile in the area they serve.
Sheila Scharmann, who joined SVS in 2014, has recently started a program at Morinville Community High School to make students aware of the work SVS does. Additionally SVS attended a number of community events in Morinville, Legal, Gibbons and Sturgeon County where they sought feedback on promoting their program.
Doing the work of promoting SVS is the board and its executive. SVSs executive remains the same as 2013 due to many of the positions being multi-year appointments or reappointments of ending positions. Brian Hutchins will continue as Chair, Keith Norris as Vice Chair, Cody Tomanek as treasurer and Amy Taylor as secretary.
For more information on Sturgeon Victim Services visit sturgeonvictimservices.org.