A flag-raising was held at Thunder Bay city hall Wednesday to mark Victims of Crime Awareness Day in the city.

It's a partnership between the city and Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services.  The group is also celebrating its 10th anniversary.

"We wanted to do something really special to highlight all the great work that's been done," said Sharon Bak, the group's chair. "Really highlight the need for victim services that's still out there. We see an increase in the number of calls that are coming in and the number of supports that are required for victims."

The organization helped over 400 victims of crime and tragedy last year, and has helped thousands over the past decade. Thunder Bay and Area Victim services offers support on the scene to victims of crime, and refers people to other programs.

'It's very hard to have a voice'

One of the people who have used the service is Tessa Charlebois. She broke out of an abusive relationship and found the service just before she had to go to court.

"It's almost like you're in jail," she said. "When you're in something like that it's very hard to reach out for services."

Charlebois organized an art show to raise awareness and money for the organization. She said she started completing unfinished paintings and drawings as a way to heal from her abuse.

"It's very hard to have a voice when you've already been victimized and abused, so these services are very very important to help someone have a voice." she said.