Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Province Recognizes Outstanding Achievements in Service to Victims of Crime
Attorney General Doug Downey issued the following statement recognizing the recipients of the 2020-21 Victim Services Awards of Distinction:
“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.
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.
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.
Recipients of the Victim Services Awards of Distinction have made a lasting impact that leaves a growing legacy in service to victims of crime across Ontario.
In the individual category, Salem Behane is one of nine recipients in Ontario this year.
Salem Berhane of Windsor began volunteering in the social service sector as a teenager in Toronto. She moved to Windsor to attend university where she noticed a gap in services for the Eritrean community. Eritrean newcomers can face barriers to employment and housing and many face discrimination in the education system. Five years ago, Salem and partners established the Eritrean Canadian Community of Windsor, a volunteer-run organization that provides social support, translation services and advocacy for Eritrean-Canadian victims of crime and anti-Black racism. She subsequently co-founded Family Fuse, a grassroots non-profit initiative that empowers Black-Canadian parents, guardians and caregivers to navigate the education system and support their children’s academic journey. Salem is a mentor to youth across Ontario, a Change Your Future counsellor, and she leverages her vast networks as the chief executive officer of InclusSV Beauty Solutions to provide employment and volunteer opportunities for youth.
I offer my sincere congratulations to each recipient, as well as the teams, networks of support and the communities they represent.”
- 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.
- The Victim Support Line is a 24/7 provincewide, toll-free telephone service, providing information and referrals to victims of crime in many languages. The support line can be accessed at 1-888-579-2888, at 416-314-2447 in the Greater Toronto Area or chat online Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Eastern Time.