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New hand ready to steer Victim Services

Published on

Pam Wright

Victim Services of Sarnia-Lambton has found a new leader.

Samantha Matty assumes the post of executive director on March 30, filling a seat left vacant by the resignation of long-time director Colleen Sim.

It’s a big job. The organization provides emotional — and practical — support to people traumatized by crime and tragedy.

Victim Services helped 1,800 people in crisis last year.

Matty hails from the London area, has a background in social work, taught the subject at Fanshawe College, and coordinated programs for Thames Valley Family Services.

Engaging with the community and continuing the highly regarded work of Victim Services tops of her to-do list. When victims get immediate help it promotes their long-term healing, she said.

“I’m excited to be working with the staff and volunteers at Victim Services. They seem so amazing.”

With two full-time and two part-time staff, Victim Services is volunteer-driven, with 95 people on a call list ready at a moment’s notice to offer confidential support to people in trouble.

Because no one knows when tragedy will strike, they’re available 24-7.

Volunteers are screened and get training that is ongoing.

Victim Services is “arm’s length” from first responders but does work closely with Sarnia Police, the OPP, Anishinabek police and ambulance and fire services.

Whether called to a break-in or sudden death, volunteers provide a shoulder to lean on and might offer practical advice. They can also help victims navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Agency vice-chair Jim Kutyba said Leeann Cloud did a great job bridging the gap between Sim’s resignation and Matty’s hire.

“Our workers and volunteers know the ropes,” he said, adding

Victim Services marked 25 years of operation last year.

Funding comes from the province as well as local fundraising.

 

 

 

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