Domestic victims services pilot project now permanent
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The Manitoba government has decided a pilot project that had provincial victim services workers work out of Winnipeg police headquarters to help address domestic incidents will become permanent.
The program, started in 2021, is meant to support families suffering domestic troubles before it becomes criminal — reducing the risk or potential of violence within homes.
Winnipeg police numbers show there are about 12,000 such non-criminal domestic incident reports a year. In 2022, the new team worked on about 700 of those calls.
Three Manitoba Justice victim services staffers began to work out of the downtown city police building, working with domestic violence investigators to help people find supports to intervene before violence occurs.
The justice staffers work with officers to determine the best services and resources — such as women’s shelters or therapy — for support at the time of the call.
In the past, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said at a news conference Thursday, police officers would go to incidents and then families would get a referral to victims services, which could take days.
“The goal of the team is to connect families calling for support to WPS and to determine the most appropriate outreach collaboratively, as a means to provide not only support, but also hopefully prevent future incidences from happening,” Goertzen said.
“Callers are now receiving a meaningful response, generally within a few hours of contact.”
Goertzen noted the program did not require new funding or the creation of new positions.