Victim Service Units (VSUs) promote and advocate the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and trauma through information, referral, support, assistance, community liaison and education. They may be affiliated or housed with local police or RCMP detachments or may operate within nonprofit agencies. Often they are comprised of a group of dedicated community volunteers known as Victim Advocates who work to support victims of crime or tragedy.
Advocates and coordinators receive training through the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Public Security. A module on human trafficking has been developed for Victim Service Units in Alberta. ACT Alberta has also given presentations and workshops at VSU training sessions across the province.
Victim Advocates are highly trained to effectively provide support, information and referral services to help victims and their families cope with the impact of the crime or tragedy. They are available through the RCMP 24 hrs a day for crisis response.
It is up to the attending officer at any investigation to decide whether to contact the local VSU. VSUs may be the first point of contact for victims of human trafficking, particularly if they are identified by police.
Victim Service Units also have access to CanTalk, which is a language service company that provides interpretation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in any language.