Cochrane and Area Victim Services Society promotes and advocates for the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and trauma in Cochrane and Area through information, support, referral, assistance community liaison and education.

Cochrane and Area Victim Services Society provides the following services:

Crisis Response

We provide on-site or over the phone crisis intervention. While each person’s reaction to trauma is highly individual, people who have been victims of a crime or tragedy often share a sense of having lost control over their lives. In the initial stages of any crisis, most people want to speak to someone who will understand their immediate need for information pertaining to: personal safety, next steps and options available to them. Our intervention ensures the victim is safe, emotionally stabilized and connected to the appropriate support services.

Information

This includes providing up-to-date information on relevant issues to victims and witnesses of  crime, misfortune or tragedy. Our volunteer Victim Advocates are professionally and extensively trained in areas related to crisis and trauma intervention and thus are able to provide accurate information, including information on: family and domestic violence, bullying,  harassment and stalking, suicide prevention and intervention, sexual and physical assault, robbery, business and home security, and the rights of victims within the criminal justice system.

Support

Emotional support is provided through our Victim Advocates who become that listening ear for people who are trying to deal with the traumatic experience associated with being a victim of crime. While listening itself may not seem like it accomplishes much, it does. For many victims it allows them to put their many thoughts and concerns into perspective. Being able to talk to someone often gives focus to victims, in the sense that it allows them to prioritise need and make better decisions.

Referral

Referrals are provided to assist victims and witnesses in assessing their immediate and long-term emotional, psychological and physical needs. These services may include community support agencies, counselling services and support groups, emergency housing or shelters, legal guidance, basic need support, social services, and Child Welfare, and, or course RCMP support.

Court Support Program

In addition to immediate crisis intervention, CAVSS offers an extensive system of follow up services including court preparation, orientation and accompaniment for victims and witnesses who are thrust into the intimidating and confusing world of the criminal justice system.  CAVSS  also assists victims and witnesses with the completion of Victim Impact Statements, Financial Benefits applications and Requests for Restitution, allowing the victim to recover out of pocket expenses.

Public Education and Crime Prevention

Cochrane and Area Victim Services Society promotes crime prevention through the provision of preventive information to victims of crime, by conducting community presentations and educational seminars, and by acting as a resource for other community agencies who may come into contact with victims.

Who we assist

Assistance is provided to individuals who have been directly affected by a crime, sudden tragedy or trauma. These impacts can be physical, emotional or financial. Assistance is also provided to individuals associated with the immediate victim such as family members, friends, work/school colleagues or witnesses to a crime.

People call us when they are affected by:

  • Sudden death
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Suicide
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Break and enter
  • Theft
  • Other crimes or traumas which have negatively impacted lives

 Program Structure

The Cochrane and Area Victim Services Society consists of a Board of Directors, a full-time Executive Director, a full-time Program Coordinator, part-time Court Support Advisor, part-time Volunteer Coordinator and a team of dedicated volunteer Victim Advocates.

Volunteer support is essential to our Society to ensure victims receive information, support and assistance. Our volunteer Board of Directors provides program governance, while volunteer Victim Advocates play a front-line role, directly interacting with victims, RCMP members and other agencies.

Advocates are required to complete an extensive training program; obtain an enhanced security clearance from the RCMP; successfully complete interviews with program staff and the RCMP; complete an Alberta government on-line course; and are required to sign a one year contract with our program.

The training advocates complete helps to provide them with the skills necessary to participate in this important and satisfying role.

If you are interested in volunteering with Cochrane and Area Victim Services Society as either a Board Member or a Victim Advocate please visit our volunteer or contact us page.