The need to help victims of crime, abuse and tragedy continues in rural Central Alberta.
Blackfalds and District Victim Support Society assistant program co-ordinator Karie Ackermann said every year the society can count on its file load increasing.
The non-profit society works with the local RCMP in the areas surrounding Red Deer, including Red Deer County, Lacombe County, Blackfalds, Clive, Tees, Springbrook, Haynes and the Village of Gull Lake.
In 2012, the society helped 653 victims of crimes such as domestic abuse, robberies, violence and sex crimes.
As of August this year, the society had dealt with 253 new cases. Of those cases, 219 were police-related and 34 were self-referred.
“Unfortunately that means our referrals are coming from the police, which means there is crime and tragedy occurring and victims are needing our support, information and referrals, ” said Ackermann.
Ackermann said the society has been around for 15 years but people do not necessarily know about its work until they are a victim of a crime or a tragedy.
On Saturday, the society will host the Helping Hearts Harvest gala at the Black Knight Inn.
The event is geared to bring awareness about the organization’s work in the Central Alberta communities.
“We do not want any victim to suffer alone and in silence,” said Ackermann. “We have a program that will support them through their time of need.”
The money raised during the event will support the programs, train volunteers and provide emergency services to victims.
Ackermann said a person in need may be scared, alone or in shock or need medical attention. Volunteer advocates are available 24 hours seven days a week to help the victims in need.
Ackermann said the advocates have undergone demanding training including a police security clearance.
New volunteers are always needed.
They must be older than 18 years of age, go through training and commit to the program for two years or more.
The fine dining charity event will feature Randi Boulton and The Band Porter and a Lewis Lavoie live painting performance.
For more information about the society and ticket information contact Ackermann at 403-392-2412 or at www.victimsupport.ca.
The society was formerly known as Rural Red Deer and District Victim Support Service.