Over the past three decades, concern has grown in Canada for the rights and needs of the victims of crime. It has been recognized that more can be done to address the needs of victims of crime and/or tragic circumstance and disaster in the Province of Ontario.
To demonstrate its commitment to victim needs, the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (V.C.A.R.S.) was established as a pilot project in 1987 by the Ministry of the Solicitor General with funding co-ordinated by the Ontario Women’s Directorate through the Ontario Government’s Joint Family Violence Initiative to demonstrate its commitment to victim needs.
VSN was established in West Lincoln on March 1, 1997 by a men’s Church group – Trinity United, Beamsville – and was first known as Niagara Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (Niagara VCARS). Incorporated on February 10th, 1998 Niagara Victim Crisis Support Service Inc. (NVCSS) became the legal name. The service expanded to cover the entire Niagara Region in April 1998 and was approved for provincial funding by The Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) on August 1, 1998. Housed with Niagara Regional Police Services (NRPS), the service was fully operational with dedicated support from emergency services across the Niagara Region. In 2010, the organization became Victim Services Niagara (VSN) to be consistent with other Victim Services across the province.