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Coping with Tragedy

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Cindy Willette of the victim services department of the Winnipeg Police Service said the evening was meant to unite the community and to provide resources.

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Cindy Willette of the victim services department of the Winnipeg Police Service said the evening was meant to unite the community and to provide resources. 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 outlets to remain outside. One officer was heard asking media not to film people going in, as 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. Once at the scene, they discovered Gibson’s children, Anna and Nicholas, critically injured in a bathtub. Gibson was nowhere to be found. The children died later that day.
After a four-day search, police confirmed they had found Gibson’s body in the Red River.
The tragedy has 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.
Willette explained the resource evening’s purpose was to direct people to the proper resources.
"I’m hopeful with the information, they will reach out to the appropriate agencies," Willette 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."

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