The Government of Saskatchewan has announced an investment of $134,000 in a new victim witness specialist and part-time administrative support for Melfort and surrounding areas.
This investment increases the total investment in the provincial Victim/Witness Services program from $656,000 in 2022-23 to $790,000 this year.
"Victim witness specialists support children and other vulnerable victims and witnesses who are required to testify in court and help reduce fear, anxiety, and further trauma," Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. "These specialists served over a thousand clients last year in regional prosecution offices in La Ronge, Meadow Lake, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, and Yorkton. The addition in Melfort will be a key support during the upcoming inquests into the James Smith and Weldon tragedy."
The new victim witness specialist will bring the new total in Saskatchewan to eight. Victim witness specialists also provide advice and training to police-based victim services programs regarding court orientation and support for adult witnesses.
The Sask. Government says the funding for the new positions will come from the Victims' Fund, which is the main support for victims of crime in Saskatchewan. The fund is primarily funded through revenue from victim surcharges paid by offenders on federal and provincial offences.
In 2021-22, approximately $13.1 million was spent from the Victims' Fund to provide a wide variety of services for victims in the province, including support for people experiencing domestic violence and families of missing persons. The Victims' Fund also provides compensation to victims for costs incurred as a result of violent crime.