Domestic violence unit ready to roll in Prince George

A team of experts is now in place to combat domestic violence in Prince George.

OCTOBER 17, 2016 03:47 PM
Consisting of an RCMP officer, a community-based victim services worker and an embedded child protection worker from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the unit will be based at the Prince George RCMP detachment.
It's the ninth unit to be established in B.C.
"It's complementary to the [RCMP's] case-management team that we already have here in Prince George and it represents an even stronger commitment to local families at risk of or enduring the extreme physical and psychological trauma at home, and believe you me there's lots of that," Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Morris said during a media event Monday morning at the detachment
As of the end of September, Prince George RCMP have opened 240 domestic violence files this year, comprising 21 per cent of the files related to violent crime so far in 2016. Over the past five years, the average has been 341 files annually.
"We need to break that cycle of family violence not only for the victims themselves but for the perpetrators," Morris said. "We have to make the perpetrator really understand that what they're doing is not normal activity, it's not acceptable in today's society."
With the help of $100,000 from the province's civil forfeiture program, the Prince George and District Elizabeth Fry Society is providing the victim service worker. Society executive director Kathi Heim said the unit will work on cases that pose the highest risk and is optimistic it will make a difference.
"The domestic violence unit signals a higher level of commitment to providing families with one place to access services and more than any one organization could hope to offer," Heim said.
"The domestic violence unit will have the right people under the right roof at the right time and the victims will be at the centre of everything."
The Society will continue to rely on annual grants from the civil forfeiture program to fund it's portion of the unit but Morris said the domestic violence units will be the top priority.
"Anything that we can do to combat domestic violence in the province gets the first nod for forfeiture funding," Morris said.
Reducing the rate of domestic violence is one of Premier Christy Clark's objectives, Heim noted.
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