Affected Persons CoordinatorGiven the serious and often traumatic nature of incidents investigated by the SIU, the Affected Persons Coordinator (APC) provides support services to affected persons. The creation of this position has contributed significantly to the ability of the SIU to respond meaningfully to the social needs of those persons impacted by SIU investigations. Affected persons include complainants, the family members of complainants and others such as civilian witnesses who may have been present at a traumatic incident.
The Coordinator’s RoleThe APC liaises with investigators to see if he/she can be of assistance to complainants and/or affected families to support them through the investigative process. The central objective is to help persons impacted by an SIU investigation gain access to services such as professional counselling, support groups, financial assistance programs or admission into drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
The APC becomes involved in an investigation when a need for his/her services is identified by investigators in consultation with the case supervisor. The APC assesses the needs of the affected person and if required:
- refers them to a range of services such as short-term crisis and grief counselling
- assists them through the investigative process
- relays questions and answers to and from the investigators that are not case-related
Much of the APC’s work is conducted over the phone and at the SIU’s Mississauga head office. However the APC will often travel throughout Ontario to meet with individuals at their homes or other places of convenience. The APC services are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
The APC also participates in public education and outreach activities to various groups, including mental health organizations and Victim’s Services Units. The goal of these activities is to connect with intake workers and provide information on the role and mandate of the SIU’s Affected Persons service. Connecting with community resources also helps maintain a continuum of service so affected persons can receive support in a consistent and fluid manner.
The involvement of the APC in a case does not mean that investigators have no further liaison role to play. Investigators continue to play an important role in establishing a line of communication to provide status updates, and ultimately the Director’s decision to complainants and the families of deceased persons.