Manitoba Government News Release–A 2021 project piloted by the Manitoba government and the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) to better support families experiencing intimate partner violence through the co-location of specialized staff from Manitoba Justice at WPS headquarters to facilitate a more co-ordinated response has proven effective and will be implemented permanently, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“Our government remains committed to ensuring public safety and providing a continuum of intervention for families experiencing or at risk of intimate partner violence in partnership with police and community-based resources,” said Goertzen. “The results of this pilot project indicate that this approach has succeeded in delivering a more effective, efficient intervention through timely, integrated service to Manitoba families in need.”
The minister noted the pilot involved the co-location of three Manitoba Justice Victim Services staff at the WPS headquarters, allowing better integration between officers and victim services workers, to collaboratively determine the most appropriate outreach for families who call police for domestic incidents in non-criminal cases.
“In addition to the co-location, officers and victim services workers proactively assess the situational needs and jointly respond to non-violent, low-risk calls to police,” said Goertzen. “Having both police and victim services staff on the same call provides families with a faster, more efficient response, often within the hour. In the past, a police unit was deployed, and incidents were referred to Victim Services for follow-up, which often resulted in delays.”
The team responds to all non-criminal domestic incidents reported to WPS, approximately 12,000 annually, the minister noted, adding that the goal of the program is meant to be preventative in nature in the hopes of reducing risk, or the potential for violence, within the homes of Manitobans.
“This partnership has allowed us to build strong relationships to ensure individuals who call police for lower-risk intimate partner incidents receive a compassionate response in a timely manner,” said Insp. Eric Luke, Winnipeg Police Service. “The WPS is committed to this collaboration with Victim Services, which allows for early intervention to help prevent escalation and potentially volatile situations.”
As part of the pilot, one of the co-located victim services workers was also connected to the Family Resolution Service, in downtown Winnipeg, which employs an out-of-court, multidisciplinary approach to assist, support and provide information to families navigating family law. This multidisciplinary approach proved effective in providing enhanced services to partners who have or are experiencing intimate partner violence.