WINNIPEG, MB. - The Manitoba government and the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) are piloting a new approach to better support families experiencing domestic violence that will see specialized staff from Manitoba Justice co-located at WPS headquarters to facilitate a more co-ordinated response, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen announced.
“Our government understands that families who require support from victim services, require it immediately, not days from now,” said Friesen. “Our partnership with WPS will create an integrated response model that ensures home remains a safe place for everyone. This means that when a call for support occurs, victim services is there right away to provide the needed resources.”
The minister noted the pilot will involve the co-location of three provincial victim services staff at WPS headquarters in Winnipeg, allowing better integration between officers and victim services workers, to collaborate and determine the most appropriate outreach for families who call the police for domestic incidents when no charges are laid.
“The pilot project will allow the WPS to provide a better response and help reduce future escalation by providing the caller with additional resources, and a more collaborative and streamlined intervention,” said Chief Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Services.
Manitoba’s Domestic Violence Support Service helps victims of domestic violence in Manitoba when criminal charges have been laid and assists individuals who receive police services for domestic violence incidents that do not result in charges or arrests.
“In addition to the co-location, officers and victim services workers will proactively screen the queue and jointly respond to non-violent, low risk calls to police,” said Friesen. “Having both police and victim services staff on the same call will provide families with a quicker, more efficient response, often within the hour. In the past, a police unit was deployed and incidents are referred to Victim Services for followup, which often resulted in delays.”
The minister noted that as part of the pilot, one of the co-located victim services workers will also be connected to the new Family Resolution Service, and can provide family law information and resources for families calling police who have questions or concerns related to separation and divorce, such as custody and access. The Family Resolution Service offers an out-of-court, multidisciplinary approach to assist, support and provide information to families navigating family law. As part of this multidisciplinary approach, this system enhances services to partners who have, or are experiencing, intimate partner violence.