WILKES-BARRE – In its 48th year of service, the mission of the Victim Resource Center is to empower all victims of crime and traumatic circumstances through compassionate and confidential support, advocacy, education and awareness.
The Victim Resource Center is the Sept4ember recipient of a %=$500 donation through the Weis Markets/Times Leader Year of Giving program, which identifies one nonprofit per month to be highlighted in a story of a full-page Sunday. The charity also receives a $500 check donation under the program. Weis Markets believes in regularly giving back to the community it serves.
Founded in 1974, services were initially offered to victims of sexual violence, but have expanded to include victims of all crimes, including assault, child abuse, elder abuse, robbery, stalking , human trafficking, homicide and domestic violence.
“Nobody expects to be a victim of a crime, and if you ask those who are, they never thought it would happen to them,” said Suzanne Beck, executive director of the Victims Resource Center. “Crime does not discriminate. Anyone can become a victim of a crime at any time. Crime affects all sexes, all ages, all races and all socio-economic levels. Becoming a victim of a crime can change your life forever.
The Victim Resource Center has offices in Luzerne, Wyoming and Carbon counties and all services are confidential and free.
Services for survivors include:
• A 24-hour hotline (570-823-0765) has trained counsellors/lawyers available to provide support to survivors, families, friends and significant others whose lives have been impacted by the crime. They can answer questions, provide advice in a crisis, or just listen.
• Individual consultations/therapy are available for any victim of a crime, their family or a loved one.
• Group counseling is available for survivors with similar experiences to help reduce feelings of isolation, explore strengths, resources and options. Support groups include homicide survivors, teen survivors, children, adult survivors of child sexual abuse, and male survivors.
• Support is available 24 hours a day. Counselors visit the hospital to provide emotional support to victims of violent crime to help them immediately after victimization, to explain your rights as a victim, the process and the options available. Support is provided during the rape exam and an exchange of clothes is provided after the exam.
• Lawyers come to hearings and trials to help you navigate the criminal justice system and to explain your rights as a victim, the process and options. Lawyers are also available to provide emotional support when making statements to the police.
• Victim advocates work with hospitals, police, courts, social services and other organizations to improve victim services and act as a coordinating link.
• VRC can help file a claim for Victims Compensation, which is a fund that can help cover the personal losses of victims of crime.
• The Victim Resource Center has been offering the Food Dignity program to its clients since 2021. In collaboration with King’s College and the AllOne Foundation, VRC addresses the issue of food insecurity by providing access to nutritious food in a supportive setting. account of trauma.
“You don’t have to be a recent victim to get help,” Beck said. “The effects of violence can last a lifetime. The impact of trauma can resurface years later, and the passage of time doesn’t mean that your pain isn’t real or that the hurt you suffered no longer matters. No matter how long ago you suffered trauma, VRC is there for you.
Beck said the Victim Resource Center also offers prevention education programs for schools, community groups and professionals. Programs are available for K-12 students as well as colleges and universities.
They cover topics such as child safety, bullying prevention, building healthy relationships, cyberbullying/safety, sexual assault prevention and sexual harassment.
Programs for community groups and professionals can include responding to sexual and domestic violence, mandatory reporting of child abuse and human trafficking.
• In fiscal year 21/22, VRC served 1,734 clients and offered 723 programs to 10,300 students.
VRC’s services would not be possible without the generous support of its donors.
To make a donation or to learn more about VRC’s services and programs, visit the website at – vrcnepa.org.
Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.