Victim Services a Godsend

Duty Desk staff gathered up their fundraising efforts over the course of the year to put something special under the tree for Victim Services Toronto (VST).

They donated $1,000 to the non-profit agency that helps victims of crime and sudden tragedy with crisis counselling and referral services.

VST executive director Bonnie Levine said donations are always needed.

“We have to support all of our core programming through fundraising,” Levine said. “We’re underfunded, in terms of government funding, by $600,000 a year, which is a huge amount.”

She said the money raised by Duty Desk may go to the Teens Ending Abusive Relationships (TEAR) program, which raises awareness in students about domestic violence or will help fund a pilot project for new portable GPS, two-way voice communication alarm systems for victims at high-risk of losing their lives to domestic violence.

Const. Joanne Tawton, and Duty Desk operators Gary Long and Loriann Broadfoot organized the fundraising over the course of the year.

“I’ve utilized them for a number of victims that I’ve gone on calls for when I was in the field,” said the 32-year policing veteran. “Even here at headquarters we’ve had a number of people that have come in at are at their wit’s end and they don’t know what to do about domestic violence in their lives or if they’re victims of some sort of crime. Victim Services steps up every time.”

Long said Duty Desk staff work closely with Victim Services to ensure they are aware of emergency events.

“They are a godsend at times,” Long said.

Tawton said she hopes Service members and the public keep Victim Services in their thoughts when they are thinking about making a charitable donation.

“People often don’t realize how badly they need the money and how hard they work at their primary job and at fundraising,” Tawton said.

To learn more or to donate,

One man and two women stand in a row. Woman in centre is holding a cheque. They are flanked by Christmas trees.
Duty Desk Operator Gary Long, VST Executive Director Bonnie Levine and Constable Joanne Tawton Photo: Kevin Masterman

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