I honestly never thought I would be writing an article or blog about crime prevention. Seriously, why would I? We’re in the business of victims you know and that means we’re not technically allowed to do preventative things (because our funding is for intervention not prevention and the two lines shall never cross).
And then one of my provincial colleagues sent me a link to the nastiest newspaper opinion piece I’ve read in a very long time. The gist of it – how DARE policy makes coddle victims by creating something as unneeded and unnecessary as a victim’s bill of rights. “All provinces and territories already have their own legislation” she says. Of course, no comment on how effective that is because little miss journalist wouldn’t actually know that nor did she try to research that first.
Witnesses to crimes (you know, those people who are not direct victims themselves) – “illegitimate sister” is what she calls them. They’re not worthy at all because they’re not even real victims. So next time you see someone get hurt or killed or have to deal with the aftermath of having someone kill a loved member of your family, you’re not really a victim.
She even goes so far as to suggest that because she is in a court room far more often than the Honourable Peter MacKay or Prime Minister Stephen Harper, well, she knows better than both of them about this. I mean really, she’s there practically daily! Reporting!
She can’t remember the last time a victim isn’t coddled through the process. Victim Services and related agencies = professional soothers (would you like a cup of tea with that miss??). A sexual assault trial she covered – the victim and witnesses had their names withheld but the poor accused, oh my god, their names were published. How awful for them because it is obvious that they were totally innocent because they were eventually acquitted (please look up the stats on how many sexual violence cases are successful in court – not because they never happened but because our judicial system makes it incredibly difficult to be successful).
Victims now have a say on where an accused might live! That is ruining the rights of the accused apparently. So you know, when the guy who held a gun to your mom’s head, beat her almost to death, threatened to kill you and your little sister if you told and locked you in a cellar so you couldn’t tell until someone came and saved you – well, you might be able to say to the judge some day that it would be a bad idea if you let him live at his mom’s house which is around the corner to your mom’s house, on a dirt road, with no street lights, limited cell service, no neighbours that can see the house if something goes wrong; oh, and did I mention that everyone in the family owns a gun (legally) because they’re hunters? Common out here in the country by the way. And sure, while it would be great if people just moved, the reality is that sometimes you can’t afford to, sometimes you have nowhere to go and sometimes you just don’t want to be forced out of your home because of something someone else did.
Rant, rave, hissy fit and all that about the money being spent on victim services, which then goes on to how dare the court systems make her job so hard by not having microphones so she can hear better (I’m not kidding).
So let’s look at this. Too much money spent…. hmm.
We know for a fact that early intervention for victims of crime is a key component in helping them to move through the healing process in a way that is more effective for them and can help to decrease the chances of post-traumatic stress disorder developing. Comparing costs? Victim Services as a cost receives a fraction, a literal drop in the bucket of funding as compared to health and other related services that are tasked with dealing with PTSD after the fact. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the money up front before people required years of intensive and many times unsuccessful medical and psychological treatment? Technically, we can’t call it prevention because I would hate to jeopardize our funding but if you were to look at it from a crime prevention stand-point, then consider the dollars spent if victim 1 receives the proper care, intervention and treatment and goes on to heal and return to the work force, allowing them to continue to pay the money back into the system that took care of them. If victim 1 has children, let’s go with the average and say they have 2 kids, they will also be able to continue on in their role as an effective parent and caregiver, allowing the kids to heal from whatever event happened to their parent. Kids may receive intervention and treatment or they may not but either way, they will directly benefit. Extended family ,witnesses, neighbours, community members… all the people who dare to think they might be victims too, they will all benefit. Eventually, hopefully, a sense of safety and the ability to take care of each other will prevail which is the biggest crime prevention tool on the planet.
Maybe if the group of professional soothers that we are (among other things) had the resources and the support to provide the services needed to the people when they needed them, little miss journalist wouldn’t have to be a so incredibly negative and burnt out because she sits in a court-house listening to court cases every day.
It’s unfortunate that our world even requires our services but it does. We deserve the rights and access to the resources to do it properly. Why? Because victims deserve it. When you are victimized by someone or something you are at the mercy of whatever happened. You didn’t pick this, you didn’t choose this, you didn’t go asking for it. You were there. And you deserve every scrap of support, guidance, information and assistance that you need. Any maybe someday we can work towards crime prevention from a holistic perspective that recognizes the rights and freedoms of everyone, not just the accused.
Categories: Assault, Break and Enter / Home Invasion, Children, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, Emergency Services, Hate Crimes, Human Trafficking, Sexual assault, Stalking & Harassment, Trauma, Victimization