It will be business as usual for Cowichan Valley Police-Based Victim Services as they move under the umbrella of Cowichan Women Against Violence Society.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General awarded the contract to CWAV Aug. 1, but as far as the Duncan-based agency is concerned, nothing will change, according to Jane Sterk, CWAV’s executive director.
“The society that had the contract has decided to disband and so they [PBVS] just needed another home,” she said.
The service was never run by the police.
“It has always been run by a society. But, they reside in the police and they have police emails. It’s just an administrative function actually,” she said.
“The Cowichan Valley has been incredibly well-served over many years by the PBVS team. The all-volunteer board of the Cowichan Valley Regional Victim Services Society that previously held the contract deserves thanks for their dedication and commitment to supporting victims of crime.”
Cowichan Valley residents can expect a smooth transition.
“There should be no difference in terms of the services being offered. PBVS works and will continue to work out of the three Cowichan Valley RCMP detachments: North Cowichan/Duncan, Shawnigan Lake and Lake Cowichan.”
PBVS is a 24-hour a day service. A caseworker responds to a call-out from police to a critical incident.
There, they provide crisis intervention, emotional support and follow-up to victims and witnesses of crime and other trauma.
Support includes criminal justice information and support, safety planning, information and referrals, and emotional and practical support.
PBVS supports victims of all crimes, except for domestic violence cases, which are referred to Community Based Victim Services, a program of Cowichan Women Against Violence after the critical incident.
CBVS assists victims of domestic violence with safety planning, help in navigating the criminal justice process, emotional and crisis support, and information and referrals.
This is helpful as it means CWAV already knows the people involved very well, according to Sterk.
“Having both CBVS and PBVS as programs of CWAV will enhance that relationship,” she said.
Victim Services do exceptional work, helping people when they encounter something with the police, she said.
“They attend when requested by the police, usually when there is a violence or a death, where there’s a need to support people who are involved in whatever the police incident is.”
CWAV provides the programs through a combination of funds from federal, provincial and municipal sources.