Wilma Derksen's vision for a comfortable, safe, oasis for crime victims—"a house near the courts that would serve as a place to rest for victims of crime during the trial"— came to her as she sat day after day with other crime victims in Winnipeg’s courtrooms.

The goal of Candace House is to provide a safe and comforting sojourn for victims of crime during their connection with the criminal justice process.

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What is Candace House?

Candace DerksenMany victims see the justice process as cold, aloof, and dispassionate. If we are to have a truly victim-centred justice process, with a restored faith in the legal system, more effort must be made to address victims' needs.

The well-known story of the Good Samaritan describes how many ignored the plight of a crime victim, except for one person, who took the victim to a place of safety and healing. Candace House is envisioned as the 21st-century version of this inn—a safe, comfortable, friendly home where victims can connect with others who are on a journey toward healing, and who have stopped at this oasis for timely information, nourishment, and encouragement along the way.

Candace House, a registered charity, is seeking the help of concerned citizens to turn Wilma Derksen's vision into a reality. Click here to make an online donation or, if you prefer to donate by more traditional methods, send your cheque or money order, payable to:

Candace House
c/o 150 Tache Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R2H 1Z5

An official donation receipt will be issued for all donations of $10 or more.

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Objectives of Candace House

To establish a victim-friendly centre that will include offices and meeting spaces for victims and victim-serving organizations.

To prioritize the use of space for client-centred, rather than agency-centred activities.

To inform the public and victim-serving organizations about the availability of a safe justice house for victims in Manitoba.

To assist victims in stress reduction by providing a treadmill or other cardio equipment, and space for yoga classes or therapeutic massage.

To provide victims with a safe place to connect with other victims and to receive timely information about the criminal justice process. Candace House should be close to the courts and the Manitoba Justice offices. Manitoba Justice victim-service staff and other justice officials will be encouraged to visit the centre to dispel myths about the criminal justice process and to interact with victims in a more relaxed environment.

To establish and maintain ties with local universities so that students of criminology, law, social work, and conflict resolution have a greater understanding of, and the ability to function within, a victim-centred justice process.

To support and encourage victims in their healing journey through the provision of space for counselling, support groups and resilience programs. To dedicate space as a “mourning room” to assist victims in their grieving.

To provide training space for staff and volunteers in assisting victims at the centre. Training at the centre may include seminars on the criminal justice process, evocative empathy, conflict resolution, victim-offender mediation, stages of grief, and stress management, among other topics.

Candace House is envisioned as a non-profit facility, preferably close to the Winnipeg Law Courts, where crime victims can address their issues in a safe environment. It will support and encourage victims in their healing journey through the provision of space for counselling, support groups, and resilience programs. It will provide a dedicated space as a “mourning room” to assist victims in their grieving.

Candace House will assist existing organizations in providing opportunities for victims to access practical help, group support programs, and objective resources with regard to the victim impact statement and the trial, as well as guidance in navigating through the crime victim detour on their justice journey.

Distinct elements will set this home apart from the services currently provided for victims in sterile, office settings.

The living room will have comfortable couches and chairs where victims can relax, unwind, and unload their burdens in a safe, supportive, informal setting.

Resource materials, including computers connected to the Internet, will be provided for searches of relevant information.

Staff and volunteers will be familiar with other services for victims of crime, in order to make appropriate referrals.

Victims may wish to visit the house before court hearings in order to get the emotional support needed to proceed. They may visit following the hearings to debrief and relax with people who understand their experience.

If the perpetrator is convicted and sentenced to prison, victims may wish to receive information and support in preparing and providing victim impact statements at Parole Board hearings.

Candace Derksen Fun Day Sponsors

Click here to see a list of sponsors and supporters of Candace House.

[Mothers x3]

In Conversation: March 21, 2013

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