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Frequently Asked Questions

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What kind of an organization is Greater Victoria Police Victim Services?

Greater Victoria Police Victim Services is a registered non-profit society with charitable tax status. We are governed by a board of directors. There are ten employees and 35 to 50 volunteer victim service workers. We work in partnership with the seven police agencies in the capital region, and we are one of many police–based victim services in B.C. that is contracted through the Ministry of Justice to provide support to victims of crime and trauma.

 

How can I find out more information about volunteering with Greater Victoria Police Victim Services?

You can browse this website and visit our How to Apply page to learn more about volunteering with Greater Victoria Police Victim Services. As well, you can e-mail us at info@gvpvs.org or reach us by phone at 250.995.7351.

 

As a volunteer, what would be my primary job?

Our volunteers are recruited primarily to provide victim services and support to clients. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Providing emotional support through direct client contact in person or on the telephone.
  • Making Referrals to appropriate community resources and professional services.
  • Responding to incoming inquiries.
  • Providing on-scene crisis intervention at the request of a police officer.
  • Assisting with Crime Victim Assistance Program applications and Victim Impact Statements.
  • File documentation of support and services provided.
  • Assisting with training and mentoring new volunteers.
  • Continuing skill development through advanced training sessions.

Experienced volunteers have the option to engage in:

  • Arranging for court orientation and accessing information on case updates.
  • Accompanying clients to court proceedings.

On occasion volunteers are asked to assist with tasks such as filing, gathering information for client database input, photocopying, etc. In addition, volunteers are offered opportunities to participate in community awareness, education or networking events and activities.

 

How do victims of crime and trauma access Victim Services?

Approximately eighty percent of our referrals come directly from police officers. Individuals can contact us directly, community agencies can refer to us, and Crown counsel refers clients for court support.

 

What kind of contact will I be making with clients?

Approximately 85 percent of client contacts are made by telephone. The remaining 15 percent involves face-to-face contact through office appointments, crisis response with police and walk-ins. Volunteers must be comfortable using the telephone as a means of communication.

 

How many hours would I be expected to volunteer?

Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of one three-hour office shift each week and six on-call hours each month. Volunteers are also expected to attend all training sessions and most volunteer meetings.

 

This work could be stressful. What type of support do you offer volunteers?

Volunteers are the foundation of our service. Their safety and well-being is very important to us. Staff are available 24/7 to provide support and feedback to volunteers in the office while on shift or by e-mail and telephone. Our motto is “safety first.” Volunteers always go on a crisis call in pairs.

Other supports for volunteers include:

  • Pre- and post-training evaluations.
  • Pairing new volunteers with experienced volunteers for support and information.
  • Regular feedback and support on client files and interactions.
  • Debriefing of stressful experiences.
  • Ongoing support during and after a crisis call.
  • Small group gatherings to share challenging cases, successes and coping strategies.
  • Regular volunteer meetings for agency or service updates.
  • Annual reviews of volunteer performance.
  • Volunteer recognition, both formally and informally, throughout the year.
  • Professional critical incidence counselling.

 

I think I would make a good volunteer. Are there certain qualities or characteristics that you are looking for?

The following qualities and characteristics are what we look for in a victim service volunteer:

  • Commitment to training and scheduled shifts.
  • Flexibility with your availability.
  • Genuine empathy for victims of crime and trauma.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Ability to withhold personal judgments and opinions with clients.
  • Maturity and good judgment.
  • Respect, honesty and integrity.
  • Professional conduct.
  • Ability to work effectively with police and a diverse client population.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills.
  • Effective written and spoken English language skills. Accents are okay.
  • Comfort in working with computers.
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
  • Ability to remain calm and effective in crisis situations.
  • No issues with substance misuse.
  • Willingness to accept direction and supervision.
  • Ability to cope and be resourceful during slow periods while on shift.

 

 

 

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