Assistance to Victims of Crime

The Ottawa Police Service Victim Crisis Unit (OPS VCU) works collaboratively with many community partners each day to provide services to victims of crime and tragic circumstances.  The Unit is staffed by professionally registered crisis counsellors who deliver crisis intervention and post trauma interventions to victim and survivors of crime and tragic circumstances.

In 2019, the Unit’s professional crisis counsellors delivered over 7,800 interventions in response to more than 6,700 victims of crime and tragic circumstances. Compared to 2018, this represents a two percent increase in interventions and a 16 percent increase in victims assisted. Through a partnership with Ottawa Victim Services (OVS), the OPS VCU referred just under 5,200 victims. 

The types of victims supported by the OPS VCU vary, and in 2019, victims of partner assault (27%), threats and criminal harassment (16%), and sexual assault and human trafficking (14%) made up the majority of cases.  These were also the top three types of victim support provided in 2018.

The OPS VCU continues to recognize the importance of establishing meaningful sustainable community partnerships to serve victims of crime and trauma.  When an event occurs within our community, it has a lasting impact on the entire community, from the primary victims to their families and friends, coworkers, and neighbourhoods.    As an example, the unit continues to support the ongoing development of the Post Incident Neighbourhood Support Network a project overseen by Rideau Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre and supported through funds from Crime Prevention Ottawa. 

The OPS VCU also partners with the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime to host a monthly support group for family and friends who have lost a loved one to violence and periodically co-hosts other events.  Along with Algonquin College and numerous community stakeholders, OPS VCU hosted an all day event “Aligning Responses to Homelessness, Mental Health and Victimization” during National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2019.  This event came after a six month project where members of the unit worked with members of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Ottawa to improve supports to individuals living with Mental Health and Addictions who come into the Ottawa Police Service for domestic disputes. 

OPS VCU seconded a full time case manager from Ottawa Victim Services in 2019 to oversee the referrals between the two service providers, further strengthening this important partnership.

On January 11, 2019, an OC Transpo double-decker bus crashed on approach to Westboro Station, causing mass casualties and three deaths.  OPS VCU, along with community partners Red Cross of Ottawa and the City of Ottawa, activated a reception centre minutes after the crash that provided support to community members looking for family and friends.  The centre ensured that follow up was provided to families impacted by and witnesses of this terrible tragedy.