Victim Crisis Asistance and Referral Services (VCARS)

The VCARS Program consists of a director of programs and services for victims, one coordinator, one outreach counsellor and 22 volunteers trained to provide a wide range of services to victims of crime and tragic circumstance. The staff and volunteers have demonstrated abilities in the helping relationship and crisis intervention, and knowledge of the justice system and other issues of victimization.

VCARS offers a variety of support services to victims of crimes and tragic circumstances and manages the Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP).

Service Description

The Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (VCARS) is a community based service driven by staff and volunteers trained in dealing with crisis situations, to provide services such as intervention, information and orientation to victims of criminal acts and tragic circumstances, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police officers and emergency services personnel called to the scene of a crisis, will, after obtaining the victim's consent, contact a team of volunteers who will offer immediate, on-site, short-term assistance. Victims are then referred to appropriate community agencies for additional support.

Services Offered

  • Immediate emotional support and short-term assistance on-site, at another location, or by telephone
  • Transportation to a shelter, hospital, emergency housing, home, family member's home, etc.
  • Provide clothing, food and personal hygiene products
  • Accompaniment to appointments for healthcare services, housing services, and police services, etc.
  • Assistance with a personal safety plan
  • Provide written documents and refer clients to other agencies in a position to assist victims
  • Assistance with an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB)

Eligibility Criteria

Requests for service may apply in the following situations, or others:

  • Assaults;
  • Sexual assaults;
  • Death notification;
  • Sudden death;
  • Fire;
  • Homicide;
  • Missing persons;
  • Family violence;
  • Suicide;
  • Highway/industrial incidents;
  • Grieving;
  • Natural disasters;
  • Elder abuse;
  • Property crimes.

Referral Procedures

Referrals may come directly from the victim or from the following professional agencies:

  • Ontario Provincial Police;
  • Hospitals;
  • Fire department;
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS);
  • Shelters;
  • Community agencies.