Victim Services Niagara (VSN) is providing support for victims of crime and traumatic circumstances in the region.
VSN’s volunteer crisis responders, team leaders and staff respond to calls through their 24h hour referral line — 905-682-2626. The agency utilizes trained staff and volunteers to deliver crisis intervention, information and referral services to over 2000 victims of crime and tragic circumstance each year. As such, VSN have been able to ensure that victims in the local community are able to receive emotional support and practical assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 20 years.
VSN provides immediate assistance and a variety of programs which seek to create opportunities, foster hope and build safer and healthier communities. These services include on-scene response, administration of the Victim Quick Response Program Plus (VQRP+), safety planning, the provision of personal alarms through the Mobile Tracking Emergency Response System (MTERS) program and their Facility Dog Program.
“I think the VSN is still somewhat of a hidden gem in our community so we are working at getting the word out and educating the community on what our team can offer,” said Tarryn Anderson, executive director of VSN. “We receive positive reactions and overwhelming support once people understand how we are able to help the community.”
Last week, in partnership with Chief Bryan MacCulloch and other members of the Niagara Regional Police, VSN helped host the fourth annual Chief’s Charity Gala. The event raised funds in an effort to support the work that VSN does on a daily basis and this year, almost 400 people attended the event.
Although the Gala is always one of their major events, the source of funding for the agency comes from many other sources.
“[The gala] is a third-party event which we have been grateful to have received funds from for the past three years. Since VSN is a non-profit organization that is only partially funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General, we rely on other funding from third party events, BINGO, grants, donations and other fundraisers [we hold],” said Anderson.
In the next few months, VSN will be hosting their 12th annual golf tournament on June 26 at Thundering Waters Golf Club. Throughout the year, the team also tries to have information tables, participate in community events and provide education on their agency and victim’s rights.
Anderson believes that the work VSN does is empowering and hopes to continue supporting all individuals who have been victimized across the region and echoed the sentiments of the VSN motto.
“Together, VSN staff and volunteers are committed to responding to each and every call for assistance to help ensure no one is alone on their darkest day. VSN believes every victim has the right to heal from crime or tragic circumstances,” said Anderson. “It is the agency’s goal to support the empowerment of all victims and prevent further trauma through education and support.”
Individuals interested in learning more about Victim Services Niagara are encouraged to visit www.victimservicesniagara.on.ca. Those who desire to volunteer with the organization can also visit the VSN website and apply online. Volunteers are all subject to police background checks.