Ponoka Victims Services (PVS) hosted a barbecue Thursday, April 23 to raise awareness of the National Victims of Crime Awareness week.
The awareness campaign was set for the week of April 29 to 25 and Miranda Pinksen, executive director with Ponoka Victims Services, said the barbecue was intended to increase engagement in the community.
“We’re more of a behind the scenes service in the community,” said Pinksen.
PVS advocates are all volunteers who take time out of their lives to help people in various emergencies. They will help victims in times of crime, fire, accidents and other areas where they are needed, said Pinksen.
“Our services are pretty vital to support the victims through the process of what’s happened,” said Pinken.
There are times that advocates have helped a victim from the onset of a tragedy all the way to the final verdict in court. Help could be as small as finding a room for someone at a hotel in the event of a minor accident but also for serious matters.
“We’re trained in the event of homicide,” she explained.
“We have a lot of resources here in Alberta,” she added.
Funding for victims services in Alberta comes a portion of tickets and fines made in court. The money goes to a “victims of crime” fund and is used from there. Pinksen said she was able to take advantage of a federal grant to host the barbecue.
She feels the positive impact from advocates is hard to measure because their role is important.
Becoming an advocate does take a few months as there is a high level of training provided to ensure advocates can manage most emergency situations. Pinksen says one of the benefits of being an advocate is being part of a team that helps people in need.
“It’s the camaraderie that you get from the board and from your advocates as well,” said Pinksen.