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Victim Assistance Support Team (VAST)

The Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Support Team (VAST) promotes and advocates the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and trauma. VAST provides assistance to both primary victims (persons who have experienced direct injury, loss or trauma) and secondary victims (those who are impacted by the repercussion of a crime or trauma including witnesses, friends, family and co-workers.) To lessen the effects of a traumatic incident, the Victim Assistance Support Team provides non-judgmental emotional support, a listening ear and practical assistance to victims of crime or tragedy. If you're interested in becoming involved, find out more about volunteering with the Victim Assistance Support Team.

The VAST also provides comprehensive resource listings for victims.

Programs and services offered by VAST

The Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Support Team has been a source of support to thousands of victims of crime and tragedy in Calgary since 1977. Our role is to reduce the impact you may experience from a crime or tragedy. All services are free of charge.

The call centre

  • Contact: 403-428-8398 or toll-free 1-888-327-7828
  • Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Victim Support Advocates (volunteers) provide phone contact with victims of personal crime or tragedy offering case and court information and updates, emotional support and referrals to community agencies for counseling, bereavement and other appropriate support agencies.

The Court Support Program

Victim Support Advocates inform victims of their rights, their role and their obligations when participating in the criminal justice system, once charges are laid. Advocates provide court updates, court preparation, court orientation and, when required, court accompaniment for victims, families and witnesses during preliminary hearings and trial.

The Court Support Program also works in partnership with The Child Witness Court Preparation Program for children ages three to 17, and the Domestic Violence Legal Intervention Program.

The Crisis Response Program

Victim Support Advocates provide 24/7 response to the scene of an incident to provide immediate crisis intervention, emotional support and practical assistance to victims of crime and tragedy. Teams are dispatched under the direction of Calgary Police Service members.

Other programs and services

The following programs are offers by the Alberta Government and support by victim support advocates.

Victim impact statement

Once charges are laid, victims have a right to complete a Victim Impact Statement, as legislated under Section 722 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The victim impact statement is intended to give crime victims a voice in the criminal justice process. A victim impact statement is a written account of the personal harm suffered by a victim of crime. It provides an opportunity to participate in the sentencing of an offender by explaining to the court, and the offender, how the crime has affected them. Download a victim impact statement form from the Alberta Government website.

Restitution

Once charges are laid, victims have a right to apply for restitution from the offender, if they have suffered financial loss as a result of a crime. Restitution is a way for the offender to repay the victim. Download a request for restitution from the Alberta Government website.

Financial benefits

Eligible victims of violent crime in Alberta have a right to apply for Financial Benefits, as an acknowledgement of their victimization. This program is administered under the Victims of Crime Act and Regulation. Benefits are based on the victim’s verified injuries; with the amounts set in the Victims of Crime Regulation. Download financial benefits information from the Alberta Government website.

Share Your Bear Program

The Share Your Bear Program is a partnership between Kids Help Phone, Girl Guides of Canada and the Victim Assistance Support Team. Kids Help Phone and Girl Guides accept donations of new teddy bears from the community year round. The bears are tagged with the Kids Help Phone number (403-476-0392) and The Victim Assistance Support Team number (403-428-8398) and distributed by the Victim Support Advocates to children and those affected by crime and tragedy.

To donate a bear or start a donation drive, contact Kids Help Phone at 403-476-0392.