Anyone can be a victim of crime or unexpected tragedy.
“At Victim Services, we believe that the voices of victims of gender-based violence matter. We believe that victims deserve the highest quality of trauma-informed service, and support available; when this happens, victims can become survivors.” Kayla Yama, Clinical Director Victim Services of Durham Region
Victim Services of Durham Region (VSDR) assists individuals and their families in the immediate aftermath of crime or sudden unexpected tragedy. Operating 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, VSDR is the only service in the Durham Region providing immediate on-scene crisis, trauma, safety and mental health support services to victims of crime and sudden tragedies. Our programs provide crisis intervention, practical assistance, referrals for a wide range of programs, services and counselling. Services are flexible and portable. The immediacy of this service assists in mitigating the harmful effects of trauma on victim(s) and their loved ones.
Our services are tailored to the needs of each individual, and may include: mental health support, systems advocacy, financial assistance, safety planning, accompaniment, assistance in navigating bureaucracies (such as: Criminal Injuries Compensation, subsidized housing, ODSP, Ontario Works, child care services, Police, etc.).
The majority of our clients are victims of domestic violence and their children, survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are two of the most under-reported crimes in Canada. The fact that there are few convictions, and perpetrators often go free may influence a woman’s decision about reporting. VSDR is here to help take care of an individual’s needs and rights as a victim by providing information, support and assistance.
Human Trafficking (HT) is the fastest growing crime in Canada. VSDR provides highly specialized, HT services, including support, survivor intervention, and awareness and prevention strategies through our expert, Human Trafficking Crisis Intervention Counsellor.
Studies identify the best way to end human-trafficking and other forms of violence against women and girls, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Effective prevention starts by educating and working with youth.
In partnership with Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), VSDR has created a grade 9 education and awareness program for students throughout the Durham Region. These workshops are inclusive of youth culture and debunk widespread myths and misconceptions about human trafficking in Canada, in order to increase protective factors. The highly interactive training, uses current media through a survivor’s perspective, to bring to light the concerning epidemic of Human Trafficking in Durham Region.
Expanding upon our work with youth and in honor of Victims’ Week, VSDR and DRPS are hosting “The Antidote to Human Trafficking: A Youth Symposium”, to raise awareness of trafficking of youth. School educators and students grades 8 and up, will be equipped to understand the nuances of consent, gain a strong knowledge of trafficking in Durham, and what to do if you suspect this is happening to you or a friend. The agenda for the day includes: a poetry slam, Ted Talks speaker Kim Katrin Milan, hearing from a survivor of human trafficking, and a workshop promoting online safety. We believe this symposium is vital to supporting young people’s mental and physical health. We are excited to raise awareness, and enable youth to understand and access critical resources and keep themselves safe. For this event, VSDR acknowledges the financial support of the Department of Justice Canada.
To assist parents with HT awareness, Victim Services is hosting, “Human Trafficking: Parents and Prevention”, June 4, 2019, 6:00 -8:00 pm. The event will include information and awareness about human trafficking, practical tips to prevent youth from being trafficked and hearing from a survivor and a parent, both with lived-experience with human trafficking.
Parents can register for this event on https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/human-trafficking-parents-and-prevention-tickets-60837132501
Special thanks to Kayla Yama, Clinical Director, Victims Services of Durham Region, for this guest post.
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