by Tristan Turner
Morinville – Amy Taylor, the newest board member for the Morinville-based Sturgeon Victim Services, gave a presentation to Morinville Council Mar. 11 on the operations her organization undertakes in the county, and the service they provide in Morinville. Victim Services provides assistance to victims of crime under the criminal code, as well as the victims of natural disasters or other trauma. “The aftermath of a crime, natural disaster, or other emergencies, can be traumatic and overwhelming. It doesn’t just affect the victim, but also their families, businesses, neighbors and people around them. After a tragedy, there are many people that will need assistance, and that’s what Sturgeon Victim Services does.” Said Amy, beginning her presentation.
Taylor said Sturgeon Victim Services consists of a large group of volunteers that are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide services to victims over the phone, at their office at the Morinville RCMP detachment or in victim’s homes. The organization serves Sturgeon County, Bon Accord, Legal, Alexander First Nation and Morinville, an area encompassing about 36,000 people. The group assists victims by acting on-call to respond to trauma 24/7, offering post-trauma and bereavement support as well as court accompaniment. The organization also assists victims by giving information on restitution, court proceedings and coping with trauma. Victims Services works as well to refer victims to counselors, support groups and the Crown Prosecutor’s office.
The organization works with victims of many different crimes, including assault, sexual assault, domestic abuse, harassment/threats, theft and vandalism. Sturgeon Victim Services has seen a decrease in total annual files since 2011, seeing more than 200 files in 2011, 153 in 2012 and 135 in 2013.
“We have three part-time staff, we have our Executive Director, Program Manager and Court Coordinator,” Taylor said. “We also have eight volunteer advocates; they are the ones that directly deal with the victims, and we also have eight volunteer board members.” Taylor said they currently have two vacancies on their volunteer board, leaving them with six current members.
The organization receives the majority (two-thirds) of their budget from the Alberta Solicitor general, with additional funding coming from Sturgeon County, business sponsors, private donations and a $5,000 grant from the Town of Morinville.
Taylor went on to speak about the effect her organization has on the community, saying: “The [funding we receive] helps us give quality care to Morinville residents, as well as the rest of the county that we serve, we reduce the effects of trauma on the victim, and [cause] less drain on community resources like the RCMP.”
Taylor closed her presentation by giving information on how to reach Victim Services for those in need of assistance. Those seeking to contact them can call the Morinville RCMP at (780)939-4240 (toll free at 780-459-7689), Victim Services directly at (780)939-4590 or online at sturgeonvictimservices.org.