Victim Services in BC

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General supports three victim services programs in the Province of BC. These programs include:

  • Police-based Victim Services programs
  • Community-based Victim Services programs
  • Victim Court Support programs

Police-based Victim Services

Police-based VS programs are embedded in RCMP detachments and municipal police departments across BC. Police-based programs respond to all types of crime, as well as non-criminal, traumatic events. Police-based victim services programs provide services along the continuum of crisis to conclusion. Services include:

Crisis Intervention

  • Police-based victim services workers provide psychological first aid and practical assistance immediately following a crisis.
  • This can involve 24/7 critical incident response to attend the scene of an incident, a hospital, a client’s home or any other location where you feel comfortable meeting.

Emotional Support

  • Police-based victim services professionals provide emotional support to victims and survivors of crime and non-criminal traumatic events
  • Police-based victim services professionals are not counsellors and do not conduct any counselling activities

Information and Referrals

  • Information on support services available in the community to victims of crime and trauma
  • Information about the psychological response in the aftermath of crime or traumatic events
  • Information about the criminal justice process, including the continuum of services found within the criminal justice system from police through to conditional release
  • Information on the rights that victims of crime have in BC

To locate a Police-based Victim Services program in your community, click here.

Community-Based VS Programs (CBVS)

CBVS programs operate in over 60 communities across BC, predominantly in larger communities. These programs have a mandate to assist victims of family and sexual violence.

Some communities have specific programs for women, children, youth, male survivors of sexual abuse, Indigenous people and people from specific ethnic communities.

In communities where a police-based VS program and a CBVS program both exist, police-based programs will have a written understanding for referring victims of family and sexual violence to the local community-based program for ongoing assistance.

With the exception of a few service providers, CBVS programs do not provide 24/7 crisis response, most provide services during business hours only.

A directory of CBVS programs can be found at Ending Violence Association of BC

Victim Court Support Programs

The Province of BC operates 8 victim court support programs across the lower mainland of BC. These programs are situated in the following locations:

  • Downtown Community Court
  • Vancouver Provincial & Supreme Courts
  • New Westminster Supreme Court
  • Surrey Provincial Court
  • Port Coquitlam Provincial Court
  • First Nations Court
  • Abbotsford Provincial Court
  • Sophie’s Place Child Advocacy Centre.

Victim court support programs are not intended to assume conduct of services to all victims of crime once a matter gets to court.  These programs are intended to provide services when a victim or witness does not already have services elsewhere.  When a police-based or community-based program is already engaged with a victim or witness, they are likely to continue providing services through the court process.

Court support programs can provide services to victims of all crime types that proceed through the criminal courts of BC, but they do not provide services to victims of non-criminal events.

Victim Court Support Programs do not provide 24/7 crisis response, they provide services during business hours.