VSY- Opening Doors for People in Crisis

Meeting the needs of those in crisis by working in partnership with the York Regional Police, Ontario Provincial Police and the community. Please click on this link to view the pamphlet.

What we do

Victim Services provides immediate emotional support, information and referrals along with other practical assistance to individuals victimized by crime or tragic circumstance. We are available to help in the following situations, among many others...

Domestic violence Hate crimes
Criminal harassment Sudden death
Property crimes damage Assault
Sexual assault Fire
Human trafficking Homicide
Motor vehicle accidents Robbery
Industrial accidents Break and enter

Examples that reflect the diversity of incidents Victim Services has responded to include the following:

  • A family coping with the sudden death of their son in a motor vehicle accident
  • A young woman dealing with the trauma of a sexual assault
  • Parents trying to understand the death of their teenager by suicide
  • A woman trying to cope with the trauma of a violent assault by her husband
  • Workers trying to deal with a fatal industrial accident of one of their colleagues
  • A gay male in an abusive relationship looking for shelter

Our Role in the community

  • We help to reduce the impact of trauma which can be helpful at the point of crisis and in the long term
  • We support and work with the multi-cultural community of York Region through our diverse staff and use of professional interpreters
  • We work in the community to prevent violence against women and to promote healthy relationships
  • We deliver our services based on the principles of empowerment
  • We approach our prevention activities through the use of education and advocacy
  • We believe every person experiences the impact of a crime or tragedy in a unique way. Equally, we believe that these experiences need to be shared in a safe, secure, supportive and non-judgemental environment.

History of Victim Services of York Region

The beginning of the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services (ViCARS) now called Victim Services of York Region Inc. program in York Region coincided with the expansion of the VCARS program across the Province of Ontario in 1996, by the Ministry of the Solicitor General and a proposal that was submitted by P.C Ron Axamit of the York Regional Police Community Services Bureau that a York Region VCARS program be established. This proposal was initially endorsed by York Regional Police Superintendent Lowell McClenny (Ret.), Inspector Dennis Laplante and Acting Chief Peter Scott (Ret). Acting Chief Scott then received endorsement from the York Region Police Services Board for the establishment of the program.

During 1997, community members from across York Region were approached by a York Regional Police working group and asked to form the nucleus of a new York Region victim service organization. The task of this committee was to gain community support, raise financial resources, establish incorporation and bylaws, seek charitable status from the federal government and eventually submit a comprehensive funding application to the Ministry of the Solicitor General. The committee held its inaugural meeting in September 1997.

During 1998, the York Region Victim Services committee evolved into the Board of Directors Victim Services of York Region. The Board of Directors, all volunteers, were successful in gaining funding from the Newmarket Mayor's Golf tournament, York Regional Police Male Chorus Annual Concert, Ontario Lottery Corporation, Chiefs Annual Police Appreciation Dinner, and a generous donation of office equipment and office space from the York Regional Police. Letters of support were received from all levels of government and from concerned citizens in the Region.

In 1999, the Board of Directors was successful in gaining core funding from the Ministry of the Solicitor General, who in turn administers the Victim Justice Fund. The Victim Justice Fund provides funding for victim oriented programs across Ontario. The Board of Directors established fulltime staffing and oversaw the initial volunteer recruitment and training. Our volunteers are an integral part of Victim Services and provide front-line on-scene assistance to victims of crime and tragedy.

In 2003, ViCARS formally changed their name to Victim Services to accurately reflect the services offered. In 2002 Victim Services expanded it's Crisis Intervention Services by hiring a Crisis Intervention Counsellor. Since that time Victim Services of York Region is pleased to join United Way York Region as a member agency. Victim Services looks forward to the many challenges that lay ahead.