This week marks the 8th annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. Communities across Alberta will be holding special events to honour victims and raise the profile of victims’ issues.
This week we are all reminded of the hardships victims face. It is an excellent time to learn more about what each of us can do to support victims of crime and their families. This year’s theme – we all have a role – shines a light on the tremendous work being done by a wide range of dedicated professionals and volunteers to help victims of crime return their lives to normal.
The Government of Alberta has invested significant funding towards helping victims and those who work with victims and their families. Since 2010, the government has allocated $4.4 million from the Civil Forfeiture Fund to support a number of programs and services, including those for victims of crime.
In Budget 2013, there is $29.8 million for victims of crime, including:
- $15.7 million for financial benefits; and
- $12.9 million in grants for victims’ programs and services.
Alberta’s Victims of Crime Fund also provides grants to 76 police-based programs operating out of 139 service delivery areas across the province. An additional 35 funding agreements with community agencies and organizations deliver specialized assistance and programming for vulnerable victims like children, and those subjected to human trafficking and domestic violence.
With respect to domestic violence, the government provided police services and Victim Services Units with a unique resource called Strategies for Safety: Considerations for Individuals Experiencing Family Violence (PDF). This new booklet provides safety planning information to professionals and front-line responders, and includes questions to ask when discussing safety with victims.
We have also provided police and Victim Services Units with a quick reference safety guide to be given to victims of family violence. This guide provides information about staying safe online, what to do if someone is being stalked, how to create a safety plan, and how to create a safety kit for escaping domestic violence.
Albertans believe every victim of crime matters. This week is a great opportunity to find out more about what is being done to help victims in your community, and what you can do to help.