Over the past two decades, concern has grown in Canada for the rights and needs of victims of crime. It was recognized that more needed to be done to address the needs of victims of crime, tragic circumstance and/or disaster.
In Ontario, the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services (VCARS) was established as a pilot project in 1987 by the Ministry of the Solicitor General. Funding was coordinated by the Ontario women’s Directorate through the Ontario Government’s Joint Family Violence Initiative to demonstrate its commitment to victims.
The pilot project was a police-community based program using specially trained volunteers to deliver victim services, providing short term crisis intervention. The pilot project was launched in three communities: The Brant and Frontenac Counties and the Southern Algoma District. The sites chosen were very diverse in their geographical and social service structure but similar in population. They represented the Eastern, Western and Northern Regions of the Province of Ontario.
The pilot project was four years in duration, with flexibility built in for start-up time and evaluation. VCARS was designed to serve the immediate crisis needs of any victim who came into contact with the police and who the attending officer determined could benefit from the services. It was anticipated that the services would focus on victims of crimes which have a significant impact on individuals. As expected a large number of the clients have been women who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
The Victim’s Bill of Rights, proclaimed in June of 1996, acknowledged and responded to the needs of Victims of Crime. A victim surcharge began to be applied to Provincial and Federal fines to create a special fund to assist victims. The Victim Fine Surcharge now funds programs such as VCARS, Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP), and the Victim Support Line through the Ministry of the Attorney General. To date there are 60 Victim Services sites located in Ontario.
The VCARS pilot project was seen to have had considerable impact in a number of areas. Most significantly, it demonstrated that multiple police jurisdictions can be serviced by a central community-based location. It has also shown that victim services can be provided primarily through the use of volunteers.
These two factors provided ample evidence that appropriate models for victims’ services can be developed within reasonable resource boundaries, and within the parameters of a community policing philosophy.
The comprehensive review and evaluation of the VCARS program indicates that the model has proven capable of significantly reducing the trauma and consequences of victimization. Secondary victimization of individuals by the criminal justice system has been reduced as the support and skills required by victims to handle these circumstances have been enhanced.
Closer to home, Sudbury & Area Victim Services was incorporated on November 8th, 2002. An Executive Director and Administrative Assistant were hired and they set up office at the O.P.P station in Sudbury on December 9th, 2002. On January 13th, 2003 the Steering Committee was officially replaced by a Board of Directors. The Sudbury program was launched on February 10th 2003, and the first group of volunteers attended training in March. Sudbury & Area Victim Services began offering assistance to victims in April of 2003.
The program has grown over the past 13 years changing its name from Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services (VCARS) to its current name of Sudbury & Area Victim Services (SAVS). This was done in order to alleviate confusion and help community members too easily identify the appropriate service within their area.
SAVS GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Our primary goal is to ensure that victimized persons receive immediate intervention, support and assistance with regard to their primary needs.
This includes providing assistance of a compassionate nature, provision of appropriate referrals, and maintaining positive police and community partnerships.
Providing specific community agency referrals to ensure ease of accessibility and use.
Offering short term support and information on effective options for long-term assistance to victims.
To develop and maintain connections within the community to continually provide victims, police and emergency services with information about the continuum of services available in the Region.
To make the services of this Organization available to the referral agencies and victims on a continual basis.
To provide services that are division specific to the Sudbury & Area Region over an extended period of time.
To recruit, train and coordinate a competent and confident core group of volunteers.
To ensure awareness and educate referral and community agencies of the benefits and uses of the Organization.
To reduce the negative impact of victimization by providing emotional support, information, practical assistance and immediate referrals to community services.
REFERRALS and CLIENT ELIGIBILITY
Referrals can be made by emergency personnel, service providers or by self-referral. Services are available to victims and their families of any crime or tragic circumstance, including but not limited to:
Break & Enter
Criminal Harassment (Stalking)
Grief and Bereavement
Motor Vehicle Collisions
Multi-Casualty / Community Disaster
Robbery / Property Crimes
Suicide (Attempts / Death)
Building effective partnerships is vital to our work. We are proud of our existing partnerships with local community agencies and related businesses that strengthen the work we do.
Our partnerships are built around ensuring that victims have access to the most appropriate services.
Our most prominent partnership is with Greater Sudbury Police Services. Police officers are usually the first to arrive at the scene of a crime or tragic event. This partnership ensures that victims have immediate access to our programs and services.
Sudbury & Area Victim Services (SAVS) is a non-profit organization that provides immediate crisis assistance, intervention and prevention services .
Sudbury & Area Victim Services (SAVS) is a non-profit organization that provides immediate crisis assistance, intervention and prevention services which are responsive to the needs of individuals, families, and communities affected by crime, tragic circumstances, and disaster.
Specially trained crisis responders are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide emotional support, practical assistance and referrals to community agencies. SAVS volunteers crisis responders and staff work in partnership with local police, fire and emergency services to ensure persons affected by crime, tragedy and disaster receive immediate support and assistance.
Sudbury & Area Victim Services operates under the Ministry of the Attorney General, Ontario Victim Services Secretariat and has been serving Greater Sudbury & Area since November 2002. Services are based on the concept of “Connecting a caring community” and are offered free of charge.
Our Vision Statement
Our vision is to help victims of crime and tragic circumstances restore and enhance their quality of life while working to prevent further victimization in the community we serve. We pride ourselves on playing an integral role in conn