Thursday May 26, 2011

Community

It's A Tough Job  

IHIT thanks Victim Services volunteers

Released by the RCMP UFVRD

 

Volunteers from Chilliwack Victims Services accept award of appreciation from IHIT.

 

nocking on someone's door to deliver news that you know will change their lives forever is a task that no police officer looks forward to.

 

No amount of training can prepare them for the overwhelming grief experienced by the recipient of this news. But the police do not perform this daunting task alone. They are accompanied by a team of dedicated volunteers who do not wear a uniform and have not been subjected to the same training as a police officer. They are there because they are compassionate and genuinely care about people. On May 24, 2011, the Intergrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) recognized and thanked the Chilliwack RCMP Victim Services Unit for their dedication and the outstanding support that they provide to the families and friends of homicide victims.

From the time the news is delivered to the end of a long and painful court process, Victim Services volunteers are a steadfast support to the grieving families and friends affected by serious crime. They are a shoulder to cry on when needed and a wealth of knowledge when it comes time to prepare family members for the inevitable court proceedings. "After a lengthy investigation and trial process in one specific case, the family continued to mention and recognize the work done by our Victim Services volunteers," said Sgt. Vince Tucker of IHIT. "They provide an invaluable service not only to the victim's family but to us as well." "Knowing that the family is supported allows us to do our jobs to the best of our abilities which is critical in a homicide investigation."

Like many volunteer jobs, it takes a unique person to be able to provide the type of support that Victim Services provides. "Providing that type of emotional support to people is incredibly rewarding," said Victim Services Coordinator Darlene Wahlstrom. "To see people at one stage completely consumed with grief to seeing them after the court process and know that we contributed to their strength is really empowering."

Although the work is mentally and often physically draining, the women of this dedicated unit continue to provide support to both victims of crime and police officers alike. "Simply by virtue of wearing a uniform does not make us bullet proof on the emotional side of policing," said Cst. Tracy Wolbeck. "It would be much more difficult for us to deliver next of kin notifications if we were standing at the door alone." "We lean on them and rely on their support as much as the victims in some cases."

If you have been the victim of a crime and require the type of support that Victim Services can provide, please contact our downtown community policing office at 604 393-3000.

Release and photo courtesy of the RCMP Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment.


 

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