Representatives from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Greater Trail Victim Services Program, the RCMP Trail Detachment and the Greater Trail Community Justice Program gathered with Metis and First Nations representatives, the Trail Kiwanis Club and dozens of other community members to unveil a bench to memorialize victims and survivors of crime on May 28 at Jubilee Park.
“To see this many people come out in the middle of a work day to participate in our event bodes well for the health and well-being of our community,” said Brianna Reilly, Trail Restorative Justice Committee member and manager of the Greater Trail Victims Services Program. “To provide direct service to victims and survivors, we need the support and dedication of the whole community. This gathering and the new bench with its plaque shows victims of crime or other trauma that we see, acknowledge and support our fellow community members. We are here to walk with them on their journey.”
The event was organized by the Greater Trail Community Justice Program which focuses on restorative justice as an alternative process to the formal criminal justice system. The program is run by a volunteer board comprised of community members, RCMP, local government, and victim services.
“Youth and adults who are able to take part in the restorative justice process tend to learn valuable principles about the harm caused through crime and typically avoid further interaction with the justice system. This can result in a better outcome for victims of crime who are able to speak to the offender directly about the harm that has been done to them,” said Gail Birks, Restorative Justice Committee chair. “This event is emblematic of how victim services, the RCMP and restorative justice programs like ours collaborate closely to address the harmful impacts crime has on our community members and on our communities as a whole.”
Metis elder Gerry Rempel and Jessica McLeod from the Aboriginal Family Connections Coordinator at Circle of Indigenous Nations Societyended the event with a ceremony that included sacred songs and smudging.
Anyone who is a victim of crime or other trauma and needs help or knows someone who needs help can call Greater Trail Victim Services at 250-368-2184 or 250-364-2566.