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Coping with tragedy: providing info and support

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Aug. 7 -- Cindy Willette explained that the resource evening was meant to offer support and information to those affected by the Lisa Gibson tragedy. (PHOTO BY JORDAN THOMPSON) METRO

JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

Aug. 7 -- Cindy Willette explained that the resource evening was meant to offer support and information to those affected by the Lisa Gibson tragedy. (PHOTO BY JORDAN THOMPSON) METRO Photo Store

Police victim services officers organized a resource evening on July 31 for those affected by the Lisa Gibson case.

Booths were set up in the Kirkfield-Westwood Community Centre, 165 Sansome Ave., complete with brochures and folders of information on and resources for emotional support. Social agencies present included Klinic, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Mobile Crisis Unit.

People arrived at the community centre sporadically, coming and going in intervals. Officers told media to remain outside.

One officer was heard asking media not to film people going in, to allow them to come in with dignity and privacy. "That’s not the nature of this event," she said.

On July 24, police received a "well-being" call from a home in the Westwood area. They discovered Gibson’s children, Anna and Nicholas, in a bathtub in critical condition. The children did not survive. Gibson was nowhere to be found.

After a four-day search, police confirmed they found Gibson’s body in the Red River.

The tragedy affected many people, not just in the area in which it happened, but all over the city.

The event was intended "to give people in this community a safe place to come to find out what resources are available," Cindy Willette, a victims services social worker with the Winnipeg Police Service, said.

"We’re all mothers, sisters, fathers, and neighbours, and so if tragedy like this doesn’t touch people, I guess the question is how are we looking after each other?"

Willette also said even the providers of support are helping each other out.

"Some of us as helpers are also gaining by talking to some of the people from other agencies."

Twitter: @metroWPG

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