Sunday, March 12, 2023 - I have been a strong advocate to address crime in our community and province and to implement new innovated methods of care for victims. This is why, my wife Heather and I were excited to join the Premier and members of the PC Team today to announce $2.1 million in funding for the creation of an integrated child abuse response unit at Toba Centre for Children & Youth that will serve all of Manitoba.
Child abuse is a horrific crime, and today's announcement takes giant steps to provide better care and a holistic approach for victims and family members.
As part of Budget 2023, Historic Help for Manitobans, our Manitoba government is investing $2.1 million to dedicated police resources to establish a provincial-level integrated child abuse response that will connect child victims and their families from across Manitoba to wraparound, child-centred supports, Premier Heather Stefanson and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“Our government is proud to stand with the women and men in uniform from across the province who put their lives at risk every day to protect our most vulnerable Manitobans and help make our streets safer,” said Stefanson. “Our government will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement and community partners to get violent criminals off the streets and provide the necessary supports to help Manitobans heal from their trauma.”
The integrated child abuse investigative team will have the dedicated police and operational resources necessary to investigate and address issues such as child abuse and exploitation, the premier noted.
The initiative will build on the success of the child-centred support model offered by the Toba Centre for Children and Youth and its collaboration with the Winnipeg Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police as part of its mandate to ensure every victim of child abuse and every child witness to violence is heard, helped and healed, Goertzen noted.
“The development of an integrated, specialized child abuse unit, housed at Toba Centre is a huge step forward in ensuring children and families who experience abuse receive the response they deserve,” said Christy Dzikowicz, executive director, Toba Centre for Children and Youth. “Manitoba is well on its way to having the most co-ordinated, collaborative and community-involved child abuse response in the country.”
Having wraparound care is critical for the well-being of children and families involved in investigations and having dedicated, integrated police resources will help to make this model available to children across the province, the premier and minister noted.
Winnipeg Police Service and Toba Centre have demonstrated how police services and community-based organizations can support each other for the benefit of the citizens they serve, the premier noted, adding that RCMP, Manitoba First Nations Police Service and the Brandon Police Service have indicated strong support of this effort and are committed to working together to support the provincewide work of the new team.
The comprehensive strategy will address serious crime and reduce victimization through supporting integrated public safety approaches that specialize in strategic criminal intelligence and proactive violence intervention, Goertzen said.
The creation of the Integrated Violent Offender Apprehension Unit that strengthens intensive bail and supervision for serious, violent offenders is another key component of the strategy. This $3.2-million investment uses strategic criminal intelligence and risk assessment tools to target the most violent offenders and those who have warrants that present the highest risk to re-offend or breach court conditions. Additional resources to the Criminal Organization High-Risk Offender Unit will further see high-risk offenders given intensive supervision to protect Manitobans.
Manitoba Prosecution Service has also been allocated an additional $1.4 million in Budget 2023 to increase capacity to address violent crime related to serious, illegal firearms offences and organized crime.
Heather and I want to congratulate our friend Christy for her dedication and commitment to making the Toba Centre for Children & Youth a reality for Manitobans.