Victim Services, Supervisor

"I lead a team of professionals who provide specialized support services to adult victims of violence. These crimes include sexual assault, criminal harassment, and/or intimate-partner violence. Some of our clients are adult survivors of child abuse (physical or sexual). My team aims to lessen the impact of crime and trauma on victims, provide effective support through the justice process and assist victims to recover from their experiences. I worked my way up to this position after years of frontline experience, and I still have my own caseload of clients that I support. Over the years I have become an expert on the criminal justice system and part of my role is to accompany clients to the police, Crown counsel, court, safe houses, hospitals or community service agencies. We can help victims with paperwork, electronic forms and other procedures associated with going to court or applying for victim assistance programs. Supervision involves managing personnel (hiring, training, evaluation and mentorship), overseeing a budget of more than $1 million, and organizing logistics to keep our office running. My team works closely with other police divisions and community agencies interested in social justice, violence prevention and systemic change. Outcomes are not always what we want, but most times the system works to support those who deserve to be protected. Tough, but rewarding."

Salary Range:

$65,000

The Tip

Downtime should be completely different than work time. Since I spend my days talking, looking at a computer and working with a team, I spend my off hours listening to music, hiking with my partner or reading in my favourite chair.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Evidence-based Decision Making
  • Selecting appropriate supports based on research and best practices

  • Providing appropriate resources


Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Critically analyze priorities

  • Synthesize information from multiple sources

  • Understand and navigate complicated processes
     

Knowledge of Human Behaviour
  • Able to relate to a wide range of individuals

  • Strong empathy skills

  • Guide exploration of difficult topics

  • Support growth and development

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Communicate well at all levels of the criminal justice system

  • Strong verbal (oral) and written communication skills

  • Advocate for self and others

  • Strong documentation skills

 

Inter-personal Skills
  • Work with diverse populations

  • Support individuals to discuss difficult topics

  • Patient, supportive

  • Strong emotional regulation skills
     

Intra-personal Skills
  • Able to manage stress

  • Calm during a crisis

  • Self-aware, able to manage biases

 

Additional Skills
  • Trauma-informed practice skills & knowledge

Understanding of the justice system; able to manage complex processes and procedures

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology–Honours) with a minor in justice studies

 

I’m very interested in abnormal psychology and forensic science. After taking an elective in my first year, I became aware of patterns in youth criminal activity and ended up doing a minor in justice studies. My next goal is to join the local police force to help prevent juvenile crime.

Employment Experiences:
  • Women’s shelter intake worker

  • Victim support worker with the RCMP where I worked for two years in Northern Canada in a remote community. Collaborated with officers, social workers, court workers and community agencies to provide coordinated support for victims of violent crimes.

  • Hired to coordinate a crisis phone service devoted to sexual assault crisis calls in a major city; supervised a team of volunteers and staff

  • Took on a job as a senior victim services worker and eventually was promoted into a supervisor role

 

Most of my employment experience has been focused on victim support, and mostly related to crimes of sexual assault or domestic violence. This kind of work is incredibly rewarding, but it can be emotionally heavy and working within the system can be frustrating. My sights are set on joining the police force as an officer and I’ve been training for their interview and physical exam process.

Community Experiences:
  • Volunteered at our campus sexual assault centre; returned as a senior volunteer in my third year and then as an assistant coordinator in my fourth year

  • Participated in a provincial task force that reviewed sexual assault statistics and resources; drafted a report outlining recommendations to enhance victim-oriented support

  • Took care of our community’s ice rink and coordinated a snow-removal program for seniors in our neighbourhood

 

Early volunteer jobs helped me to secure positions in these frontline fields. I think it’s also important to volunteer in one’s community and working in our ice rink has been convenient and fun.

Contextual Experiences:
  • I’ve never been a victim of a crime, but social justice issues have been on my radar since about Grade 9. Studying the determinants of health was eye opening; there are so many contextual factors that we can impact and improve, if only we had the will to try.

 

Training with the intention of getting a police interview has been intense and I’ve been doing all that I can to get into great shape and treat my body (and mind) well. I think I’m on the right track.

Relationships:
  • I had a terrible experience with a manager when I was younger, and I think that drove me to take supervision seriously. I take pride in leading a team of excellent professionals and I know their work is making a significant difference in the lives of our clients.

 

I think working with a team will always be important to me. It’s been a great source of strength and support through tough times and celebrations. I’m glad not to have to do it on my own.