Some people may say that victims are forgotten by the justice system. But anytime a victim is working with an advocate, they are seen and heard.

Victim advocates provide so much more than tea and teddy bears.

Don’t get us wrong we love a good cup of tea, and teddy bears have their place. But those are just a couple of the tools in a comprehensive toolbox used by highly skilled people. Victim advocates help to alleviate stress and make sense of very complex situations.

The most important support that advocates provide is listening and ensuring the victims are heard. After listening carefully, advocates help in a number of areas, including and not limited to:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Emotional support
  • Resources and referrals
  • Information on victimization
  • Assistance with applications for financial assistance, compensation, and restitution
  • Information on legal rights and protections
  • Information on the criminal justice process
  • Information on the civil court process
  • Assist victims and their family members submit statements to the court
  • Intervention with landlords, creditors and employers on behalf of the victim
  • Information on crime prevention
  • Assistance with funeral/memorial arrangements
  • Assistance with safety planning
  • Assistance in navigating the medical systems and accessing services

To be a victim advocate in Alberta, a person must pass an enhanced criminal background check and make commitments to their local organization. They also need specific skills and training, including and not limited to:

  • Being a victim advocate
    • Assessing a victim’s needs
    • Communication and collaboration skills
    • Confidentiality, Documentation, and information stewardship
  • Basic Knowledge Requirements
    • Understanding our Justice Systems and specific criminal code offenses
    • Victims rights, compensation, and services
    • Special knowledge and training of how to provide the best support and assistance to meet the needs of diverse populations
  • Important skills
    • Conflict management
    • Crisis intervention
    • Trauma-Informed Care
    • Self-Care