Young ‘hero’ struggles to cope after seeing shots fired in Newton

NEWTON — A Surrey mom is proud, frustated and heartbroken all at once after her 11-year-old daughter witnessed one of Surrey’s most recent shootings.

W.E. Kinvig Elementary school Grade 5 student Britney Kemp was outside her Newton home playing with her four-year-old friend on May 29.

"We heard four bangs and we dropped to the ground," Britney said. "Then all we saw was a car zooming in and I saw a black gun. I grabbed my friend’s arm and took her home."

Britney’s mom Debra says she’s proud of her daughter’s actions that day but is increasingly concerned about Britney’s wellbeing since witnessing the shooting.

"In my eyes, she’s a hero for getting her little friend home," Debra said. "But she’s still scared and doesn’t feel safe. It’s heartwrenching."

Britney hasn’t slept since it happened and is fearful every time she hears sirens. To make matters worse, Debra says help for Britney has been slow coming.

Debra called Surrey RCMP Victims Services but was initially stymied.

"They told me there was nothing they could do because she was the witness to a shooting," Debra said. "That’s all they told me… I’m a little P.O’ed, to put it politely."

Mark Elson, manager of Surrey RCMP Intervention Program, says while he can’t discuss specific cases or referrals, there is often confusion about victims services. He says people often confuse the program with the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP), where victims or witnesses of crime can apply for money for counselling.

"What happens at times is people mistake Victim Services for some of these other agencies — the agencies we provide referrals to," he said.

"This is a situation we see many, many times over."

In 2014, Victim Services attended 331 crisis calls and provided help to 2,501 clients in cases like car crashes, homicides and sudden deaths. Victim Services’ eight full-time case workers in Surrey also helped 468 victims apply to CVAP.

Elson said he has personally been in touch with Debra after being contacted by the Now last week.

"I want to be able to help them. Our whole job is to help people… It saddens me when I hear that people feel that they haven’t gotten help they need," said Elson.

"If somebody needs help from us and it hasn’t worked for them, then call us back. We can be advocates for you as well."

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