Making sure the primary victims of crime are cared for is a major focus for local police agencies.
Terri Roney is the Victim Services Coordinator with the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) and Moose Jaw RCMP.
She gave a presentation during last week's MJPS Citizens' Police Academy.
"My role is to inform, support, and refer victims of crime against person and support people that have experienced tragedies. It really depends. Day to day is very different, it depends what the officers need, the calls that come in, but the major thing is just to support individuals in our community."
Roney says she often trains together with the Regina Police Service Victim Services Unit.
She explained how Moose Jaw & District Victim Services helps those in need.
"If it was a crime against person and it was referred from an officer, we could be on scene with them if need be. If not, usually initially it starts with a phone call to see if they want our services. If that is the case then we look at different resources, different counselling that we have. Things in and around Moose Jaw that they can benefit from. If they do qualify for compensation, then we go through the compensation application with them."
Victim Services also assists with victim impact statements, in addition to keeping the victim informed about court proceedings.
Roney noted that she is in constant communication with local officers.
"If the officers need me, I'm a phone call away," she continued. "I would meet them on scene. If it's something that can just be referred and I would get to the next day, they're great at writing emails. It really depends on what kind of call the officers are on. I feel like we work well together. We're quite a team to try to just support those individuals in a really bad time."
Another aspect of Victim Services in Moose Jaw is an accredited facility judicial service dog. SVEN was brought to Moose Jaw in early December, just before his third birthday. The black lab was acquired from Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) out of Burnaby, BC. He is one of, if not the only, assistance dogs in the province.
"His role is to support individuals," discussed Roney. "We spend a lot of time with children. Especially with forensic interviews. Sven does a lot of those and supports kids in that. Any victims that come in that even needs help filling out paperwork, or just need to chat. Sven is around and is available to fill in that role. A lot of times, we are in court. Sven is used to support those individuals in the soft room or when they testify."
Sven, who lives with Terri, has been training for the position since he was a puppy.
"He did pass his public access exam. I have to pass that as well with him, handling him. It's quite extensive," explained Roney. "These dogs have hours and hours spent on them, with a wonderful group from PADS to get them to the place. I'm very fortunate and lucky that when Sven came he was 100 per cent trained. I think I had to do the training more than he did."
Moose Jaw & District Victim Services is a team consisting of a Coordinator, Administrative Assistant and volunteers providing ongoing support, information, and referral services to victims of crime and traumatic events.