Residents of the North Thompson Valley who are coping with the effects of crime now have a new face to turn to.
Melody Romeo recently took over as the victim services manager serving the area covered by the Clearwater and Barriere RCMP detachments.
She takes the place of Kim Strickland, who was victim services manager for many years.
“Our first priority now is to get more volunteers,” Romeo said. Main requirements they are looking for are motivated and caring individuals.
North Thompson Victims Assistance is a 12 hour a day, seven days a week service, she said.
Typical people helped include those involved in domestic abuse or motor vehicle accidents.
The service is offered to people by the RCMP but there is no obligation to accept.
Duties for the volunteers include giving emotional support, referral to other agencies for further assistance, police and court updates, explanation of the criminal justice process, liaison with police, courts and clients, giving information about recourses (including relevant literature), and helping to fill in crime victim assistance program (CVAP) information and application forms.
Volunteers also could be involved with safety planning, court support services (including court attendance and accompaniment), court order information, mobile service including scene attendance, providing information on transitions and safe home programs, plus community and service provider orientation.
Full training is provided for the volunteers. Applicants must pass a security clearance with the RCMP.
Romeo noted that victim assistance is provided to clients and their significant others in a manner that respects individual rights, safety, and human dignity. It is offered regardless of economic status, gender, age, race, political or spiritual beliefs, cultural or ethnic origins, physical or mental ability, or sexual orientation.
A resident of the North Thompson Valley for 37 years, Romeo is perhaps best known locally for the role she has played in organizing several provincial softball championships in Clearwater. She intends to continue in her job as sports coordinator with the municipality, she said.