Local organization shines a light on the cost of providing critical support to victims of crime and tragedy, asks the community for support
October 31, 2019 (Airdrie) - Facing rising caseloads, a local community service organization is asking the public to rally behind the victims of crime and tragedy this fall and winter.
Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society (ADVAS) managed just under 4,000 cases last year, nearly doubling their caseload from 5 years ago. Staff and volunteers who provide critical support to victims have seen a dramatic increase in the number of assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, and sudden death cases that are referred to them. “As our community has grown, so has the traumatic exposure to crime and tragedy for members of our community,” Patti Reid, Board Chair at ADVAS.
“Stats show that people who have the right support as they try to heal from a traumatic experience have better overall outcomes,” says Reid, citing academic research that demonstrates better mental and physical health, and less enduring financial hardship for victims of crime and tragedy who receive support. The data also shows a greater probability of graduating and fewer future interactions with the legal system for children and youth who receive support. All of the outcomes combined, the support provided by victims assistance groups has a considerable net positive result for local and regional economies.
While the organization’s caseload and its impact on the community has increased dramatically in recent years, Reid notes that stable funding has not risen at the same pace, “While we are grateful to our existing funders, we need everyone in Airdrie, Beiseker, Crossfield, and the great communities in between to recognize that we would not be able to provide real support to real people without public support. We have seen another increase in the need this year, and we need the public now more than ever.”
This fall and winter, the organization is asking community members and their family and friends from across Southern and Central Alberta to support the 1:1 Campaign. “We are proud of the impact that our team can deliver for a small investment,” Reid says, noting that the organization operates with an annual budget of around $300,000, “It costs just $76 to provide critical support to one victim of crime or tragedy, and through this campaign we are asking people to each support one victim, one woman, one man, one child who needs support today. We want the community to be one to one.” On the goal of the campaign, Reid added, “We have almost 800 cases this year that we need to secure funding for. So if a person or business can be one to one, or ten to one, or a hundred to one, we really need their support.”