Shirley Deglan, Victim Services Coordinator with the Salmon Arm and Sicamous detachments, stands with Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm Detachment. Police and Victim Services work together to provide support for victims of crime, trauma. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Helping people through the worst days of their lives

Police Based Victim Services grateful for the many agencies which provide local support

A family returns home to discover their house is on fire and their beloved pets are missing.

A woman is assaulted by her spouse and must flee.

A house is broken into and the resident’s belongings are either damaged or missing.

It’s these kinds of traumatizing experiences – and many others – that Shirley Deglan, Victim Services Coordinator for the Salmon Arm and Sicamous RCMP detachments, responds to. When police are called to an incident and there’s a victim of crime, officers give out information cards about Police Based Victim Services. With permission, they also pass on the victim’s information to Deglan.

“It could potentially be any crime,” says Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm detachment, emphasizing there is no ‘minor’ crime in terms of victims. “For that person, it could be the worst day of their life.”

Sometimes Deglan will go to the scene of the incident with a police officer.

“That’s where my training with critical incidents and critical intervention comes in… The victim is traumatized, their emotions are so raw, that ’s where the training comes in to help them through their first few hours. Sometimes I could be on scene from one hour to six hours until we feel they’re in a safe place – mentally, physically, emotionally and have the support of family members or friends. And of course that frees up a member to go to other calls.”

Says West: “When we know they’re in the care of Police Based Victim Services, we know they’re going to get engaged with the right services to help them through the trying thing they’re in. If that wasn’t the case, it would be the police officers doing it. And they’re not specialists in that field.”

Read more: Salmon Arm shooting victim speaks of gratitude and love

Read more: Police in Vernon catch suspects after armed robbery in Salmon Arm

Read more: Shuswap Quilters Guild donates comfort

Read more: Targeted – Shuswap society finds pets hurt, killed in domestic abuse cases

He adds that Victim Services is engaged and connected to the many other services provided in the community. Deglan says community resources work well together and are very “client-based.”

She adds: “It’s great to know that a victim of anything just has to connect with one of them and they’re going to be sent to the right service.”

She says if she is called to the hospital in the middle of the night because of domestic violence, for instance, she might need to find that person clothing, a safe place to stay and counselling. Or if there’s a fire, residents might need to be put up in a hotel. She says in cases like those, partners such as Emergency Social Services, the SAFE Society and local kennels, if pets are involved, can step up to help.

If the situation involves grief, connections can be made with the Shuswap Hospice Society or counselling services.

And when the courts are involved, Deglan can support the victim through the process.

“She would have above-average knowledge of the police,” says West of Deglan, “and well above-average knowledge of the court system.”

She also has clients referred to her from Mental Health, youth care workers and other community agencies.

Overall, says Deglan, “I’m the least judgmental person…”

“I don’t get jaded. It doesn’t matter to me what their history is. What’s important to me is what I can help them with at the moment.”

The factor that has made her job the easiest is connecting with other community services.

“I’m actually impressed with how many supports we have in the community,” she says, explaining that’s why she wants it made public how many services collaborate. “We send clients to them and they send clients to us.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Sicamous Eagles lose two on the road

Despite late offensive surges, the Sicamous squad came up short in Spokane and the Beaver Valley.

What financial commitments do you want from candidates running for prime minister?

As the federal election quickly approaches, the Observer took to the streets… Continue reading

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read