Although the Wetaskiwin Unit of Victim Services could have been in contact with Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Bruce Hinkley by any mundane means, instead, upon invitation, Hinkley paid a personal visit to Unit on August 13 to learn more about the organization.
Hinkley had many questions for executive director Petra Pfeiffer, chair Barry McDonald, treasurer Cyrus Dastouri and board member and RCMP officer Sgt Guy Perreault. He also shared some of the challenges facing the new government, the big one being the $40 price of oil. He described it as a catch-22. “When oil prices drop and the government has less money to fund social programs, at the same time the need for the programs increases.” Following a productive exchange of information MLA Hinkley stated he was pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about Victim Services, it programs and services and its funding challenges.
“I was totally impressed with the organization and appreciated the opportunity to visit, tour and learn more about its operation The following are some of my key observations and comments following our Wetaskiwin Victims’ Service tour and meeting: appears to be a strong, dedicated board – congratulations; operating financially responsibly; excellent caseload results; excellent relationship with RCMP; fine well trained volunteers who as a whole can provide 24 hour support and service, one of the few organizations able to do so; tremendous support from municipal funders and community fundraisers; asset to the community and surrounding areas and dynamic leadership from your co-ordinator.”
Hinkley is no stranger to Wetaskiwin having served as the executive director for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wetaskiwin from 1986 to 1991. Currently he and his family live in rural Wetaskiwin. Prior to beginning his political career as MLA on May 5, Hinkley was a retired school principal, and a veteran educator with over 30 years of experience. He holds a bachelor of education degree from the University of Calgary and a master’s degree in education from the University of Alberta. He also has experience as a small-business owner and operator.
Thoughts of living in the “perfect world” can conjure up all types of warm and fuzzy scenes …we get up each day, have a healthy breakfast with the family and depart for a job we absolutely love. But for another group of people the “real world” is a “world apart”. It’s the world that has been torn apart by an accident, tragedy or by living in the destruction of violence in the home.
Pfeiffer describes how Victim Services is there to help. “When a person experiences a crisis or a trauma it can be an experience so severe or unusual that the mind cannot master it in the usual way. Our staff and advocates are specially trained to know how to meet the basic needs of the victim.”
Victims of crime can receive information from Victim Services about the investigation and protection orders; the criminal justice process, court, hearings, trials and dispositions; financial support and other sources of assistance within the community. Victims Services also assists victims by providing court orientation, court accompaniment and witness preparation and probation/parole information.