Category:awareness initiative

National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, May 28-June 3, 2017

Each year, we celebrate National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week in Canada to raise awareness of services and supports for persons harmed by crime and violence and to recognize the tireless efforts of front-line victim services staff, volunteers and advocates who offer support, information and practical assistance to survivors. In 2017, the theme for Victims Week is “Empowering Resilience”, which provides us with the opportunity to reflect on how we can better help victims discover and utilize their strengths and capacities in their healing journey.

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. It is the ability to overcome challenges or to bounce back from adversity. They way people perceive and interpret adversity affects the way they feel and how they relate to the world around them. Resilient people have a positive view of themselves, their world. The good news is resilience can be learned through behaviours, thoughts and actions, it is not a trait. Resilience can be built in a number of ways by: 1) making social connections for support; 2) avoiding seeing crises as insurmountable problems; 3) accepting that change is a part of life; 4) moving towards goals; 5) taking decisive action; 6) looking for opportunities for self-discovery; 7) nurturing a positive view of oneself; 8) keeping things in perspective; 9) maintaining a hopeful outlook; 10) taking care of oneself.

But sometimes it can be challenging for victims and survivors to feel resilient given the traumatic experience they’ve had. Some may feel that they are being rushed to move forward with their lives or “get over it”. Others may feel they are being judged for not being resilient enough or for being too angry. We must recognize that each individual is on a unique healing path with very different timelines. We cannot rush anyone to recovery, healing or wellness, but we can be present to assist survivors to use their strengths to overcome the challenges presented by victimization. There are also great resources available that may be helpful.  For example, the Victim Coordinating Committee (VICC) for Leeds and Grenville Counties just developed and released an empowerment toolkit, which provides helpful tips on how to maintain, improve, or encourage healthy well-being after experiencing trauma.

We must also be mindful of the diversity that exists within communities and across Indigenous cultures and nations. Decolonizing our practice is important to ensure that we have the skills to help survivors with wholistic wellness and connection to self, family, community, culture and nature/spiritual.

 

National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2016 – A new Heritage Minute was released today on the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, representing those who suffered and were victims of Indian Residential Schools. These schools had long lasting effects on those who were forced to attend them.

This Heritage Minute follows a survivor of a Residential School. It uncovers the story and real life events of Chanie Wenjack, narrated by his sister Pearl, who both attended a Residential School in Kenora, Ontario. Chanie had run away from the school at the age of 12, and only a frozen body was found.

Educating Canadians on the effects and the victimization that Indigenous peoples endured while they were attending these schools, and for generations after, is the intended goal of this minute.

Not easy to watch

Doris Young, a Cree educator and residential school survivor, said this is not an easy Heritage Minute to watch.

“It brings back my own memories of experiencing, of having to watch a child being beaten to death. So when I see that, it brings back those horrors. I hope I don’t have a nightmare tonight,” she said.

While Young says the Heritage Minute might help Canadians understand what residential school survivors went through, she doesn’t think National Aboriginal Day — a day of celebration of identity and culture — is the day to focus on it.

“This little child on this railway track is not our culture. This is about what happened to him because of a political and legal decision that was made for him, for his family, for his community.”

Wenjack’s death prompted the first inquest into the treatment of children at the schools.

“He’s a powerful symbol of those innocents who ran, just trying to be home, and didn’t make it, who didn’t survive residential school,” said Novelist Joseph Boyden who welcomed the opportunity to write the script for the video.

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime offers support, research and education to survivors and stakeholders.

What's New

My name is Donna McCully.

It was always our wish to live in Jamaica in our dream home. So, in August 2012, my husband Sedrick Levine and I left Canada to move into our new home. We were thrilled to finally be starting the next chapter in our lives, in Sedrick’s beloved homeland. He bought a little bus and planned to operate tours for visitors to the island. I was helping him run this business venture, as part of our semi- retirement in Jamaica.

My life as I knew it was suddenly shattered when two masked men broke into our home on Sunday, November 17, 2013. Sedrick struggled with the men, allowing me to flee upstairs to call the police. His actions saved my life that day, and that of my father and his housekeeper, who were visiting us at the time. One of the masked intruders chased me upstairs and kicked in the bathroom door, but he stopped when he heard a gunshot from downstairs.

My husband Sedrick was killed that day and the men fled our home with a laptop. The Jamaican police have not yet found these men or charged them with killing my beloved husband. Their motive remains unknown.

This crime has completely changed my life. I suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder now and have depression as a result. I came back to Canada, but I feel very isolated since this happened. These emotional scars may never heal.

I managed to find the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime by searching online one day. I didn’t know where to turn for help when I came home to Canada. The CRCVC has provided me with a lot of emotional support, which has been tremendously helpful. They’ve also written numerous letters to Jamaican officials seeking justice for Sedrick, as well as intervening with Canadian officials on my behalf. The office also helped connect me to a trauma therapist for counselling sessions too.

In order to try and make sense of what happened to Sedrick, it is my hope that others could support the work of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. There are so many other victims/survivors out there who also need their assistance.