Frequently Asked Questions
I am interested in volunteering but would like to find out more information first. How can I do so?
Volunteer recruitment occurs once a year. Volunteer information sessions are held between March and June, and training starts in September. A lot of people have questions, and the best way to get them answered is to come to one of our sessions. Attendance at an information session is not mandatory; however, it is highly recommended.
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 and is 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 greater Victoria area, 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. We are the only non-profit integrated police-based service in the province.
How can I find out more information about volunteering with Greater Victoria Police Victim Services?
You can browse this website and visit our Volunteer page to learn more about volunteering with Greater Victoria Police Victim Services. As well, you can email us at volunteering[at]gvpvs.org or reach us by phone at (250) 995-7351.
As a volunteer, what is 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.
- Referring 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 applications and Victim Impact Statements.
- Arranging for court orientation and accessing information on case updates.
- Accompanying clients to court proceedings.
- Opening/closing files and file documentation of support and service provided.
- Assisting with training and mentoring new volunteers.
- Continuing skill development through advanced training sessions.
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?
Eighty to ninety 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. In order to provide services, individuals must consent to accepting the service from the referral sources.
What kind of contact will I be making with clients?
Approximately 85 percent of client contacts are made by telephone, with the 15 percent from face-to-face contact through Crown counsel, 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 to provide support and feedback to volunteers in the office while on shift or by email and telephone. Our motto is “safety first.” Volunteers always go on a crisis call in pairs.
Other supports for volunteers include:
- Regular feedback and support on client files and interactions.
- Annual reviews of volunteer performance.
- Debriefing of stressful experiences.
- Professional critical incidence counselling.
- Ongoing support during and after a crisis call.
- Pairing new volunteers with experienced volunteers for support and information.
- Regular volunteer meetings for agency or service updates.
- Small group gatherings to share challenging cases, successes and coping strategies.
- Pre- and post-training evaluations.
- Volunteer recognition, both formally and informally, throughout the year.
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.
- Genuine empathy for victims of crime and trauma.
- Maturity and good judgment.
- 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.
- 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 maintain confidentiality.
- Flexibility with your availability.
- Ability to withhold personal judgments and opinions with clients.
- Respect, honesty and integrity.
- Ability to cope and be resourceful during slow periods while on shift.
For more information on qualifications to be a victim service volunteer, go to the Volunteer page and click on “How to Apply.”