They are called in during the worst of times. Day or night, rain or shine, they are there at the side of the road after a serious car crash or after a family has heard that a loved one won't be coming home.
Kim Gramlich heads Delta Police Department's Victim Services unit. She leads a team of 15 volunteers that helps Delta residents that have been the victim or witness of crime or trauma.
They work closely with police officers to provide support as individuals and families cope with stressful and devastating events. They work with some clients for months and even years after an incident, providing court information, updates and support.
Gramlich has spent more than 15 years in victim services. She started as a volunteer with Langley RCMP while she was going to university and then was hired as that unit's assistant co-ordinator. She spent five years with Langley's unit before becoming Delta's program co-ordinator 12 years ago.
Q: How did you get involved with victim services?
When I was going to university, my mom showed me an ad in the paper. Langley RCMP was looking for victim services volunteers. I was still not really sure what I wanted to do... It sounded really interesting so I went to an information session.
Q: What sort of education/training do you have?
I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master's degree in leadership and training.
Q: In 2010, you added Caber, a trauma dog to the unit. What does he bring to what you do?
He has the capacity to help people in a way that a human being can't. He offers physical comfort (through petting) and a more immediate connection that can take longer to develop between people.
Sometimes people struggle to communicate.
Q: What is the main thing you would like people to know about Victim Services?
It is not a duplication for the support they (a victim) receive from family and friends. While Victim Services workers can and do offer emotional support to a victim of crime or trauma, it goes much further than that. From day one, we provide support. The amount of service provided is up to each individual client. Victim Services works to keep clients involved to the degree that they want to be involved.
Q: As part of your job, you deal with a lot of sad, emotional circumstances. How do you find balance in the rest of your life?
Because I have Caber, I have become involved with PADS (Pacific Assistance Dog Society, which breeds, raises, trains and places service, hearing and therapy dogs with people who have a disability other than blindness). I'm on the board of PADS. I do a lot of volunteering myself... I feel that service to community is dwindling and that concerns me.