BIBLE HILL - County residents who have become victims and are in need of assistance have more options available to them thanks to the Colchester RCMP's newly formed victim services unit.
Cpl. Addie MacCallum said he has noticed the need for such a service over the past seven years and knew it could be of benefit.
"As police officers, we see people at their most vulnerable," said Cpl. MacCallum. "When they are in a vulnerable state, there's a bigger need for assistance and there are sometimes gaps. Sometimes they need comfort or even advice on what to do next."
Volunteer victim services unit members Irma McCallum and Carrie Falconer have been providing some of the needed assistance, comfort and advice since the first of September.
"I like the fact that there will be something available when somebody may need it," said Falconer, who worked with a victim services program in Grand Pre.
"It sometimes takes time to contact family and friends, and someone may need someone right when that situation is happening."
In critical situations and times of urgent need, the volunteers will be available around the clock. For something of a non-urgent matter, Cpl. MacCallum said the unit is working on a 48-hour response time.
"There are a lot of places that can offer a huge amount of things because of size and volunteers, but right now we are focusing on the basics - to offer comfort, advice and information on resources available," he noted, adding the unit could expand in the future once the mandate and volunteer base grow.
Answering calls at the detachment on a regular basis helped prepare the volunteers with taking on this new initiative.
"When we got our first victim services call I wasn't nervous, just because we answer the calls," said McCallum. "But with this, we are able to take the call a step further."
"It's all about giving those extra steps," added Falconer.
Since the beginning of September, the local unit has served a victim of a domestic dispute, seven residents who called the RCMP due to the flooding in the county and two new referrals, which resulted a domestic situation.
"We've had some people say they are very, very thankful they had someone to talk to and to give them a little bit of direction," said Cpl. MacCallum.
Because some of the calls for assistance the RCMP receives can be volatile situations, Cpl. MacCallum said standard operational procedures are in place to protect the volunteers.
"We are very diligent as to how assistance will be rendered - whether in person or over the phone."