KAWARTHA LAKES-Attorney General Doug Downey recognized the recipients of the 2020-21 Victim Services Awards of Distinction today.
“In recognition of exceptional achievements in service to victims of crime in Ontario, the Attorney General’s 2020-21 Victim Services Awards of Distinction honour the remarkable contributions of 15 individuals and organizations from across the province.” Downey said in a Statement. “In the face of unprecedented challenges, these dedicated professionals, generous volunteers and outstanding organizations have demonstrated an irrepressible drive to raise awareness of victims’ issues, increase access to crisis intervention services and provide compassionate support in times of need.”
Alice Czitrom a social worker and civilian coordinator with the Peterborough Police Victim Services Unit received one of the awards. She developed the police service’s first Facility Dog Program and is the primary handler of Pixie, a five-year-old accredited facility dog that acts as an ambassador of goodwill between the residents of Peterborough and its uniformed officers.
Pixie, who was trained by National Service Dogs, works alongside Victim Services and helps provide people experiencing trauma with positive physical and neurological impacts. Since the program began just over a year ago, Pixie has provided support at 40 police interviews, five police scenes to help calm the situation, three critical stress debriefings, eight court accompaniments, 25 community presentations and over 100 meetings between victims and police. Alice is continually promoting the use of canine-assisted intervention as a trauma-informed best practice.
“Our government is committed to protecting and supporting victims of crime and fostering the growth of safer communities. We will continue to work with and support community partners in every region to stand up for victims of crime and their families.” Downey stated.
The Attorney General’s Victim Services Awards of Distinction recognizes the dedication and creativity of professionals and volunteers who serve victims, and the courageous efforts of individuals who have been personally impacted by crime and are now working to raise the profile of victims’ issues in Ontario, including in Indigenous, northern, and rural communities.
To learn more about Pixie and her role as a facility dog, you can follow her Instagram account @ptbopoliceK9pixie.