In thinking about violent crime, most summon up images of those directly involved and then the large network of people who help deal with such a traumatic event.
That is part of the reasoning behind this year’s theme for National Victims of Crime Awareness Week: Everyone has a Role. It focuses on caregivers and their role in helping victims and families recover from violent crime.
As part of the awareness week, the
(KFN) Victim Services Program is holding a two-day justice training certificate workshop for compassion fatigue on April 24 & 25. The term refers to the often intense emotional and physical exhaustion experienced by professionals over the course of their careers helping people.
“It’s often described as the cost of caring for others in emotional pain,” said program supervisor Jaimie Forsey. “We don’t develop it because we did something wrong, but because we care. It’s a natural human consequence for facing the reality of human trauma.”
The workshop will also focus on helping victims of violent crime access the programs and services that are available.
Clarinda Spijkerman will be presenting on April 24. She works with the GNWT’s Victim Services and is a compassion fatigue trainer for the NWT and a victim services co-ordinator for the community justice policing division of the Department of Justice.
The Hay River interagency group, KFN interagency, health providers, social workers, service providers in the court system and personal support workers have all been invited to participate.
Forsey said it is a great opportunity for service providers to get together to address compassion fatigue and increase the quality of services provided to clients who have undergone traumatic events.
Having worked in victim services for multiple years and having taken similar training in the past, she said one way to deal with compassion fatigue is by maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
“I have a very strong spiritual and life balance,” she said. “Spending time with my family, staying connected and grounded. For me, these things are very important.”
Last year, NWT chief coroner Cathy Menard recommended the territorial government should direct more funding at programs to prevent family violence. That resulted from the 2009 death of 31-year-old Alice Black of Gameti, who was beaten to death by her common-law husband.
The KFN Victim Services Program received an increase in its core funding from last fiscal year to hire a victim services co-ordinator. That allowed the program to reach out to communities from Fort Resolution to Fort Providence.
This year’s awareness workshop received $10,000 in funding from the federal Department of Justice.
The Silent Witness Project, an initiative spearheaded by the KFN Victim Services Program partnered with the Hay River RCMP, will also be kicked off during the awareness week. The mobile project features life-sized red cut-outs representing women who have died at the hands of their partners. Currently, the program has four cut-outs, and it is hoped families will come forward to include stories and photos of their loved ones on specific cut-outs.
The project received a $25,000 grant from the Ottawa RCMP through its family violence fund.
Registration is still taking place for the workshop, which will be held at the Chief Lamalice Complex on the Hay River Reserve.
by Angele Cano