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Revelstoke Senior Life: RCMP Victim Services

The Victim Services unit is the Community Response Network’s member of the month
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(File photo)

Laura Stovel

Revelstoke Senior Life

The experience of being a victim of crime can be frightening, heartbreaking, confusing and even embarrassing. Victims may blame themselves – ‘How could I have let myself get into this situation?’ They may feel torn about turning in someone they know and love who is abusing them. They may feel overwhelmed by all that is involved when a crime has been committed against them or when the people who committed the crime are far away – as in the case of online or telephone fraud or some identity theft.

Luckily there is someone in town whose role is to help victims of crime navigate the police process and court system or help them make a safety plan, whether the abuser is in the household, in the community or far away. That someone is Alisa Presakarchuk, the new RCMP Victim Services worker for Revelstoke.

“If we’re talking about elder abuse or vulnerable adults, it is often financial abuse, physical abuse or fraud – because it’s so easy to get sucked into those (e-mail or telephone) schemes right now,” she said. If the person has not been in touch with the police, Presakarchuk’s role would be to support them in making a statement to the police if they need that support.

Most referrals, however, come from the RCMP. “So if, for example, I get an abuse call (from the police), I get called to the scene. Do they need emergency housing? Are they in a safe place right now? If they’re not in a safe place, how do we get them to a safe place? And then I often do a holistic needs assessment to see what their overall support system is like. Do we need to look at financial referrals? Do they need food or clothing? What are some basic needs? Do you have people who are checking in on you? Do you have people who you can meet with because social support is the most important thing. If you don’t have that, what are some steps we can take to get you some of that social support?” Presakarchuk explained.

Once charges have been laid, Presakarchuk can help victims navigate the court system. “Part of my role is to explain what the process looks like once the police and courts are involved, because for someone who has never been in it, it can be overwhelming,” she said.

If a file goes to court, she would do a court orientation. “I would prepare them for testifying when they’re on the stand, and I would often support them at court as well, to be with them during the day. And then if it’s an assault or abuse case and someone’s been arrested, I’ll explain the conditions. When someone is arrested they’re almost always put on no-contact orders. And so I’ll explain that and make sure they understand it.”

Presakarchuk also receives referrals from community agencies like the Women’s Shelter, Community Connections and the Mental Health Unit of Interior Health and from individuals. People can also contact her directly if they think they have been a victim of crime or have questions about a crime.

Other parts of Presakarchuk’s job are referring to other agencies and carrying out public education. Sometimes people come to her because they are concerned about how a family member is being treated in a care home. She can refer them to the proper authorities who can investigate the situation. She is also available to give workshops on many aspects of crime prevention, including on fraud, identity theft, domestic violence and sexual assault.

For information about the RCMP Victim Services program or to volunteer or donate, please call Alisa Presakarchuk at 250-837-1201 or e-mail her at victim.services@revelstoke.ca.

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josh.piercey@revelstokereview.com

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